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750,000 volunteers answer call to help U.K. health service manage coronavirus crisis

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COVID-19 continues to sweep the world, providing unique challenges and opportunities for people to demonstrate the best in our humanity. Some 750,000 volunteers took up the call to help care for people vulnerable to the virus in London. The following excerpt from a CBS news article highlights the combined efforts that reassure us that each of us can make a difference during this pandemic.


750,000 volunteers answer call to help U.K. health service manage coronavirus crisis

By Haley Ott

"As history shows, it is often in times of crisis that we pull together and become our best selves," said Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, said in a statement.

"Our team is now working flat out with colleagues in NHS England to process the many thousands of applications we've received, so we can get volunteers up and running as soon as possible and matched with patients that they can begin to support," Johnstone said.

"Rallying the troops"

The NHS Volunteer Responders will be given four primary tasks: Delivering medicine to vulnerable people who are self-isolating, taking patients to and from doctor's appointments, getting patients home from hospitals, and calling isolated patients to help prevent loneliness.

Doctors, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists will be able to call a phone service to get their at-risk patients matched with local volunteers. Charities will also be able to refer to people.

"Coronavirus is the biggest challenge we have ever faced, which is why we're rallying the troops and telling the public: Your NHS needs you," said Dr. Nikki Kanani, a family physician and the NHS' Director of Primary Care, in a statement announcing the initiative last week.

"This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where a single action from one person can be the difference between life and death for another," she continued.

Volunteers will have tasks assigned to them via an app, which they can also use to indicate whether they're on or off duty for the volunteer program. The app, run by an organization called GoodSAM, was already operating before the coronavirus crisis to help organize communities around local health issues.

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