Senior nurses will be able to access support to help develop new volunteer roles within the NHS, as part of a project aspiring to ease pressure on busy staff and improve patient care
Community interest company Helpforce has received grant funding of £450,000 from Burdett Trust for Nursing to carry out the initiative over the next three years.
“This will not only benefit the nursing staff, it will benefit the public and communities”
Helpforce will partner with nurse leaders at health service trusts around the country to co-design the volunteer positions and embed them into the NHS workforce.
The vision is that volunteers will be able to offer a helping hand on the wards with tasks such as aiding patients at meal times, keeping patients active, engaging with those who live with dementia and supporting people being discharged.
Kay Fawcett, education lead and clinical advisor, who is leading on the work for Helpforce, said: “This is a great opportunity to develop volunteering initiatives that support our nursing staff and can be shared across the NHS by nursing leaders.
“We will engage with nurses and wider multidisciplinary teams to gain insight into the roles that best reduce the burden on clinical teams, allowing them to focus on care delivery,” she added.
“This is a great opportunity to develop volunteering initiatives that support our nursing staff”
Ms Fawcett said volunteers had the potential to “make a huge difference”.
It is believed that the estimated 78,000 people who volunteer within trusts are rarely integrated into NHS strategies or service delivery plans, meaning their ability to make a difference to patient experience can be limited.
Helpforce has claimed that both engaging and co-designing with nursing leaders at ward and departmental level will create great potential to increase the impact volunteers make.
Dame Christine Beasley, trustee at Burdett Trust for Nursing and a former chief nursing officer for England, said the organisation was “delighted” to support the programme.
She added: “This will not only benefit the nursing staff, it will benefit the public and communities as more interesting volunteer roles become available to more people across our health service.
“We believe, like Helpforce, that now is the time to co-design volunteer roles that become truly integrated into hospitals and community settings,” she said.
Dame Christine added: “It is a very exciting moment for all our health and wellbeing.”