The Royal College of Nursing has launched a charter promoting best practice for volunteering in health and social care in Northern Ireland.
The two-page charter sets out the principles on which volunteering is organised and how good relations between paid health and social care staff and volunteers are built.
Around 280,000 people volunteer annually in Northern Ireland and it is estimated that this contributes £433m each year to the local economy.
Volunteer Now, the lead body for volunteering in Northern Ireland, has been working with the RCN on the joint charter to improve harmony between staff and volunteers for the benefit of patients.
Sandra Adair, director of policy and capacity building at Volunteer Now, said: “We are delighted that the RCN has taken this step to develop the charter.
“It will highlight the need to have in place good procedures, clarity of roles, mutual trust and support so volunteers and staff can work effectively together for the benefit of those in their care.”
Janice Smyth, director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said: “Relations between paid staff and volunteers are harmonious and mutually rewarding. They can, however, be enhanced by good procedures, clarity of respective roles, mutual trust and support.
“This charter sets out the key principles to help underpin good relations in the workplace and ensure that volunteering supports, rather than replaces, paid employment within health and social care.”
She added: “These principles should be used as a guide by individual organisations to develop more detailed policies and procedures that reflect local needs and circumstances.”
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