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Plans were announced yesterday for a 250,000 strong army of volunteers to help the NHS fight the war on coronavirus — including opportunities on the Isle of Wight.

Helping add an additional service to the NHS, people will be able to sign up via the Good Sam App, run by the Royal Volunteer Service, to become volunteer responders.

Volunteers will take on tasks like collecting shopping, medicine or other supplies for those self-isolating, providing patient transport and phoning those in self-isolation regularly.

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Another task would also potentially be delivering medicines to pharmacies or transporting medical equipment between NHS services and sites.

Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, urged people yesterday (Tuesday) to sign up to the scheme if they are well and able to do so safely. He said:

“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.

“Your help has the potential to make a real difference to some of those most affected by this outbreak.”

Other health services including GPs, doctors, pharmacists, social care staff will be able to request help from the volunteers for their at risk patients through a call centre where the needs of the patient will be matched to a volunteer.

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Speaking to the BBC this morning, national medical director of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, has said more than 170,000 volunteers have signed up overnight, since the scheme was announced.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has thanked members of the public for the donations they have sent in to the teams at the hospital, including foods and flowers.

To sign up to the volunteer responders scheme, head to www.goodsamapp.org/NHS. Over 150,000 people are reported to have signed up already.

11,788 people have returned to the NHS to help the national effort including 2,260 doctors, 6,147 nurses and another 2,500 other health professionals.

Next week, 5,500 final year doctors and 18,700 final year student nurses will join the effort.


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