The NHS volunteer scheme, launched in April to relieve stress off of the healthcare system during the pandemic, gives healthcare providers and pharmacists the option to request help with a variety of tasks, such as food and medicine deliveries to the shielded patients, through the ‘Good Sam’ app.
Despite this, some pharmacies were on edge because the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) warned that fraudsters could abuse the system to exploit vulnerable patients. Recently, NHS England announced that local authorities, self-referrals and GP’s have been the largest referrers in the NHS volunteer responders’ scheme and that community pharmacies have requested only five-per cent of tasks to be carried out by NHS volunteers.
“NHS England announced that COVID-19 volunteers have only carried out 5% of all tasks.“
Head of voluntary partnerships, NHS England, Emma Easton, stated: “Our biggest referrers are GPs, local authorities and self-referral, which provides a different option."
Deputy Director of pharmacy commissioning, NHS England, Jill Loader, stated: “Just to remind you that is a service for shielded patients and people should see if there’s a family member, friend or a volunteer who can deliver first.”