The GoodSAM app is being used to help recruit around a quarter of a million volunteers for the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.
The digital tool is usually used to alert those with medical training to nearby emergencies so that potentially life-saving interventions can be given before the arrival of emergency services.
However, the app is now being used to help recruit volunteers for the NHS by helping people offer their services to people in need.
NHS Volunteer Responders can be called on to do simple but vital tasks, including:
- Delivering medicines from pharmacies
- Driving patients to appointments
- Bringing them home from hospital
- Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home
The service is not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is instead an additional service provided by the NHS.
GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for their at-risk patients via a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), which will match people who need help with volunteers who live near to them. Some charities will also be able to refer people to the service.
Dr Mark Wilson, GoodSAM co-founder, said: “GoodSAM has been saving lives through technology for five years by crowdsourcing resuscitation in cardiac arrest. We are hugely proud to now also be crowdsourcing volunteers to help those in need at this time of national crisis.”
All volunteers joining the NHS scheme will need to undertake training and background checks that are appropriate to the roles that they sign up for. All volunteers registering on the app will need to upload identity documents, driving license (for any driving related tasks), confirmation that they have insurance (if applicable) and any other role-related information.
People can become an NHS Volunteer Responder and join the NHS’s trusted list of volunteers by visiting the GoodSAM website and adding their details to the NHS section.
Health and social care Secretary, Matt Hancock, added: “In these extraordinary times, it’s essential that we all pull together as part of the national effort to protect the most vulnerable, reduce pressures on our NHS and care system and save lives.
“If you are well and able to do so safely, I would urge you to sign up today to help the most vulnerable people in our communities as an NHS Volunteer Responder.
“Your help has the potential to make a real difference to some of those most affected by this outbreak – from delivering essential prescriptions to calling to check on the wellbeing of those self-isolating.
“I am immensely proud of how the whole country is coming together to help one another – we must continue to listen to and live by the latest medical and scientific advice and through this national effort we can truly make a difference.”
Digital Health Unplugged will be publishing a special coronavirus edition of the podcast on 27 March to keep you up-to-date on the latest news from the NHS and suppliers as the outbreak continues. You can tune in on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Podcasts as well as on Digital Health News.
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