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FAQs for NHS Volunteer Responders

Accepting/rejecting alerts

I need help setting up the GoodSAM app and guidance on how to respond to alerts

The step-by-step guidance for setting up the app and responding to alerts can be found in your Getting You Started Guides and on our NHS Volunteer Responders website. We also have a video you can watch to help get you started:  GoodSAM app video.

Do I have to accept every request that comes through?

No, only commit to what you can. Turn your ON DUTY toggle to on when you are available and select OFF when you are not available. If you do not want to accept a specific request, click 'Reject' on the GoodSAM app.

What happens if I accept a request but then find that I cannot make it or get delayed?

You can ‘Pass to another volunteer’ via the GoodSAM app if you can no longer help. 

How long will the information regarding the alert stay on my phone?

The details of a task will remain on your phone for 2 days minimum. The length of time the details will stay on your phone depends on what number volunteer you are within the alert cycle, therefore for most people, the alert will be on your phone for longer than 2 days, however please be assured that if you are the last volunteer to receive the alert you will still have the details for 2 days. Please note that if you select that you have completed a task (prior to actually completing it) the details will disappear.

I have accepted a task for the future (a few days time) but can no longer help?

Please call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382

I have received an alert that is 50 miles away from me?

Please 'Pass to another volunteer'. This may happen if the location settings are not correct on your phone. Make sure your location settings for your phone and the app are turned on and wait for another referral to come through. Please call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382 if you require support. 

Why am I receiving alerts after 7:30pm?

The GoodSAM app will only send notifications up to 7:30pm, however due to your signal/wifi availability/settings you may receive these alerts to your phone after this time. Please note our Support Team is open until 8pm on 0808 196 3382 if you need any help.

Why have I received an alert from yesterday?

This may happen if the referral was made and accepted by a volunteer who then dropped it after the 7:30pm cut-off. If you are unsure about whether you will be able to complete an alert, please reject it to ensure it is sent to another volunteer in time to avoid this happening.

Does being an NHS Volunteer Responder mean you will be called to an emergency? Is this the same as a First Responder for heart attacks?

You will only be asked to support tasks linked to NHS Volunteer Responder roles you agreed to do. The GoodSAM app is used by a number of organisations for different purposes, such as emergency responses. However, you will be using it as part of the NHS Volunteer Responder programme, which does not involve dealing with medical emergencies.

I can only support during the evenings and weekends, is this ok?

Yes, of course, whatever support you can offer is appreciated. You just need to ensure that when you can support, the ON DUTY toggle is turned ON in the GoodSAM app. When you are unavailable for support switch the ON DUTY toggle to OFF. That way you will never be sent requests for support when you are unavailable. 

Can I add another role to my volunteer record?

Yes, you can still add the NHS Transport Role and Vaccination Steward to your record. 

Go to and log in with the email address you used to sign up, you will be able to amend your roles under the ‘Change your current roles’ tab.

Can I stop certain alerts/remove a role from my volunteer record?

Yes, you can untick a role by logging in to using the email address you used to sign up, and access the ‘Change your current roles’ tab.

How will I know what type of support a referrer requires from me as a Steward Volunteer (COVID-19 vaccinations)?

Referrers have been advised that they must include the type of support they require in the additional information section of the task alert e.g. stewarding at a COVID-19 vaccination site. If you have not received clear task information in your alert, you can reject the task. You may also want to raise this with the Support Team who can contact the referrer and advise them to re-submit a more detailed referral.

What types of support cannot be requested under the Steward Volunteer (COVID-19 vaccinations) role?

Volunteers should not be expected to perform duties such as a receptionist role, clinical roles or stewarding for non-healthcare events or transport hubs. If you have received an alert requesting these types of support, please call the Support Team who will contact the referrer.

I have selected ‘I will attend’ for a Steward Volunteer (COVID-19 vaccinations) task but can no longer attend, what should I do?

Once you have confirmed attendance, this will show on your ‘tasks’ screen with attending in green, next to that shift. If you need to cancel a shift, swipe across the task, still on the tasks screen, and press ‘no longer attending’.


Print entire guide Page last reviewed: 13 May 2022

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