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Information for health and care staff and other professional referrers

NHS Volunteer Responders are ready to provide vital support to frontline staff, NHS clinicians and social care professionals. They can be a helping hand for those vulnerable to COVID-19, or any other reason support is needed during the pandemic.

If you’d like to request additional help for a patient, or to reduce the level of their support, you can call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382 (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week) or online via the GoodSam app.

The scheme is also open to self-referral (0808 196 3646), although patient transport to medical appointments must be requested via a healthcare professional.

Who can make a referral?

Professional referrers include:

  • Approved charity partner
  • Community pharmacy
  • General Practice (GP)
  • Healthwatch
  • Hospital
  • Local Authority
  • Member of Parliament (MP)
  • NHS111/Ambulance Trust
  • Police or Fire Service
  • Resilience Forum Member
  • Social care provider
  • Social housing provider
  • Social prescribing/link worker scheme

How will volunteers be able to help?

NHS Volunteer Responders offer simple but vital support while following guidance on helping people safely.

  • Community Response Volunteer: To collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients
  • Community Response Plus Volunteer: To collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and / or significant vulnerabilities
  • Patient Transport Volunteer: Providing transport to patients who are medically fit to attend routine medical appointments
  • NHS Transport Volunteer: To transport equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. This may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery. The role can also help Local Resilience Networks with transportation and delivery of items such as food parcels.
  • Check In and Chat Volunteer: To provide telephone support for anyone who’s at risk of loneliness
  • Check In and Chat Plus Volunteer: A ‘listening ear’ which is offered to volunteers who are also shielding or experiencing challenges as a result of COVID-19.

How can I refer a patient?

  1. By calling 0808 196 3382 (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).
  2. Through the GoodSAM app

You can find guidance on the specific criteria within the instruction document supplied on the referral form. However, discretion can be used by a referrer if someone is deemed a vulnerable patient but does meet the criteria.

How can I make a bulk referral

If you are an approved referrer and would like to bulk referrer individuals into the NHS Volunteer Responders programme you can do this by completing the bulk upload template which you can upload directly to the GoodSAM app.

Please read the bulk referral guidance.

Please ensure:

  • You can only share personal data if you have a lawful reason. Please therefore only share personal data if you are sure that you have authority to do so.
  • Please put no more in the spreadsheet than the categories listed. Do not include any additional information outside these categories.
  • The spreadsheet asks for your confirmation as to whether each individual has a cognitive impairment or other significant vulnerability. This is so that the individual can be directed to the appropriately trained level of volunteer.

Additional support for mental health providers

If you’re providing mental health support, you can learn more about how NHS Volunteer Responders can support your clients in our fact sheet about mental health support.

FAQs for Referral Organisations

We have produced some frequently asked questions to guide you when making a patient referral.


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