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FAQs for signing up as an NHS Volunteer Responder

Suitability to volunteer

I do not have a smartphone, can I still help?

Unfortunately the functionality requires a smartphone in order to be able to acknowledge requests.

Do I need a particular smartphone to use the app?

For the functionality to work correctly we require:

  • Apple – iPhone 5 and above (anything in the past 7 years). We are currently releasing an update to support iPhone 4, this will be with you soon.
  • Android – The app works with anything that Google supports, therefore if you do not have the functionality of Google Play you will not be able to install the app.

I’m a GoodSAM Responder for Cardiac Arrests, what should I do?

Please do NOT re-register. Your services will be transferred to Royal Voluntary Service, your current affiliation will be lost and you’ll need to be approved again. In a few days time your profile will enable you to opt-in as an NHS Volunteer Responder.

I'm already a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer and can help. Do I need to apply?

If you could apply through this will allow us to make sure we can assign you to specific local support requests as part of this NHS England project. We're delighted you want to continue to support us in these challenging times.

Is the app designed for people with accessibility issues such as people who are blind or partially sighted?

At this stage the app does not support people who are blind or partially sighted. We will update any guidance documents with relevant information if this becomes available.

Do I need to change my car insurance to be able to drive as a volunteer?

If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), we advise you contact your car insurers to let them know you are driving for voluntary purposes.

Can I volunteer using my bike?

Yes, this is fine as long as you are able to transport goods safely.

I'm under 18, can I volunteer?

You are not able to register but could ask someone who is over 18 to register and you can volunteer with them as support.

I'm over 70 and want to help

You could sign up to volunteer as a Check In and Chat Volunteer and offer support by making calls to check in on a person’s wellbeing.

Does being a ‘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 the NHS Volunteer Responder programme. Whilst the app is used for several organisations such as paramedics, this is completely separate.

I live in Wales or Scotland and want to support?

This is only an initiative for NHS England.

I have signed up but I am still working so can only do evenings and weekends, is this ok?

Yes, this is absolutely fine. When your ID has been verified you will receive an email to download the app, you just need to ensure when you can support that you make sure the ON DUTY toggle is clicked ON, then when you are unavailable for support click the On DUTY toggle to OFF. That way you will never be sent requests for support when you are unavailable. 

We both want to help and live in the same house, is this allowed?

As long as you are fit and healthy and have no symptoms in line with the NHS and public health guidelines then you can both support. If either of you do get symptoms then you must follow the self-isolation guidelines to prevent any risk to yourself or others.

I am currently self-isolating so cannot go out but still want to support?

If you are well enough and have access to a telephone, then we do have a volunteer position where you would call people for conduct Check In and Chat conversations.

Is the system and site legitimate?

Yes, the web address is publicised via NHS England and on the Royal Voluntary Service website. The NHS Volunteer Responders initiative in support of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a joint activity between Royal Voluntary Service, NHS England and GoodSAM – the technology provider. It’s a widely known application and used in times of emergency.



Print entire guide Page last reviewed: 04 January 2021

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