New volunteering initiative aims to tackle NHS workforce shortage

New volunteering initiative aims to tackle NHS workforce shortage

New volunteering initiative aims to tackle NHS workforce shortage

2nd Jun 2021

A new initiative has been launched today to support five NHS Trusts across England to enable their volunteers to take up a career within the NHS.

The “Volunteer to Career” programme is a pioneering project which will help address shortages in the NHS workforce by actively supporting volunteers on to a healthcare career.

Working with five Trusts, projects will be led by clinicians working in partnership with volunteer services. Through a ‘Volunteer to Career Pathway’ designed by the clinicians, Volunteers have an opportunity to develop skills and capabilities related to a career role within their local Trust. 

The scheme, which is run by Helpforce and funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, aims to see an increase in the number of volunteers who have an interest in pursuing a career in health and care after their volunteering experience. Helpforce is an independent not for profit innovator, which partners with health and care organisations across the UK to accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering.

Maeve Hully, Director of Volunteering at Helpforce, said:

“This is a very important scheme to address one of the biggest challenges the NHS is facing - a cycle of shortages and increased pressures on staff, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. NHS hospitals, mental health services and community providers are now reporting a shortage of nearly 84,000 FTE staff, severely affecting key groups such as nurses, midwives and health visitors.”

“With clinicians leading this project, clinical teams and volunteer services will work together to bring greater opportunities for staff and patients. And at the same time, it enables volunteers to explore different career pathways within the NHS. We look forward to sharing insights from this programme to help other NHS Trusts develop similar initiatives, so that together we can accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering in health and care.”

The five projects will focus on a range of areas, such as mental health, patients with special needs, A&E, community health services, and paediatrics, with a view to volunteers moving into careers such as Play Specialism and Mental Health Support/Peer Workers.

The Trusts involved will receive wide-ranging support from Helpforce. Clinical leads will complete a series of sessions that provide information, support and guidance for the development of their projects, alongside mentoring from an experienced clinician for the duration of the programme.

The five Trusts who are part of the programme are:

  • Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Anne Doyle, Volunteering Manager at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said;

“We are delighted to be part of this new and fantastic project which will provide experience in Health Play Specialism.

Our volunteers play an integral part at Alder Hey and helping them move into an NHS career, as many have done here, is incredibly rewarding and important for both our volunteers and for the NHS”

The Volunteer to Career launch comes during Volunteer’s Week (1-7 June), a UK-wide initiative to recognise the contributions that volunteers of all kinds make.

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