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Volunteer army services for people shielding

(29 Posts)
Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 11:46:54

Has anyone had any luck accessing these (the NHS army of 750,000 volunteers/GoodSam)?

The latest I have heard is that if you want to register for help you need to call the Royal Voluntary Service on 0808 1963382. However when I called them they seemed pretty clueless.

I understand you can also ask your GP to fill in a form to refer you (although this hardly seems a good use of GPs’ time).

Fidgety31 Fri 10-Apr-20 11:48:55

I am one of those volunteers but haven’t been sent any jobs yet .
Only health professionals can refer I think

LittleLittleLittle Fri 10-Apr-20 11:55:46

You are better off contacting your local covid-19 mutual aid group.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 11:56:30

That’s because no one can access you.

Silly system to have to go through HCPs - they are extremely busy without having to fill in forms.

Would make much more sense if anyone on the shielding list could just access the service directly or via the council.

cathyandclare Fri 10-Apr-20 11:56:32

Yes DD's been on call for 200 hours or something and yet to get an alert. Frustrating.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 11:59:15

@LittleLittleLittle I did and they have helped me once but I would prefer to use the “official” service as there is more accountability.

I am beginning to think this service has just been set up as bread and circuses for the millennials and gen-z-ers and as a vanity project for the software company.

I hope I am being overly cynical.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 12:00:44

@cathyandclare no one can access the service (I I understand there have been only 1000 requests nationwide since it was set up).

LittleLittleLittle Fri 10-Apr-20 12:04:44

OP then be prepared to wait until the end of May. (Sorry being cynical like you.)

I would contact your local covid-19 group and explain why you need regular help with certain things.

The other source of help would be your local council but you have to wait until Tuesday.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 12:08:15

Local council only bring (unwanted and thrice cancelled) food parcels. They say they can’t help with medication.

Local covid-19 group are helpful but unvetted.

NHS Army/GoodSam is a shambles that is going to alienate its volunteers and potential users unless it gets it together soon.

LittleLittleLittle Fri 10-Apr-20 12:20:30

OP unfortunately this crisis is showing that the government can sort out a piss up in a brewery but half way through the celebration.

The government has actually told people to rely on neighbours, friends and people in the local community.

Also I suspect quite few of the volunteers are actually vetted though you don't know that. People who tend to help out all the time are more likely to volunteer in the first place.

Wingedharpy Fri 10-Apr-20 12:21:15

I thoroughly agree @Egghead68.

If an individual has been identified as being "extremely vulnerable", they should be able to self refer.
Provision of your NHS number should be enough to demonstrate that you're on "the list".

I'm having a similar experience with "priority" shopping. No slots available.

In theory, there's loads of help available - in practice, not so much.

I appreciate that all this has been set up very quickly and was bound to have teething problems but there does seem to be a missing link somewhere in the chain when there are thousands of volunteers, keen, eager and willing to help but the folk who would be grateful for their assistance, can't access them without troubling some overworked professional.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 12:46:12

Agree @Wingedharpy and @LittleLittleLittle. I hope they can get their act together.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 12:47:48

@Wingedharpy - re shopping slots - I have the same problem but if you call the supermarket’s customer services line they can often get you a slot if it is an emergency.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 14:52:06

Anyone else have any experiences of using these services?

Baaaahhhhh Fri 10-Apr-20 15:00:39

From what I know only about 20k of the volunteers have been used as yet. I suppose that's a good thing, in that they are not yet needed. The problem was that as a nationwide initiative, it resulted in lots of volunteers, but necessarily in the right places.

Baaaahhhhh Fri 10-Apr-20 15:01:04

NOT necessarily in the right places.....

AnnieOH1 Fri 10-Apr-20 15:08:27

I can understand your concerns regarding local, seemingly unvetted groups but please know that we are all doing our very best to help with shopping, food parcels, prescriptions. Is it ideal? No in 2020 terms everyone would ideally have a DBS check etc but just remember that a DBS check merely means that person has never been charged with something. It doesn't mean they're innocent at all.

That said the majority of people I have met who are volunteering are volunteers already although perhaps in other services. In my area we all seem to be some flavour of Christian and actively involved in our church communities anyway.

Surely at this point it has to be about humans helping humans to not starve, not put themselves at risk and ensure their medicine needs are met? This is essentially a war footing, red tape must go out the window.

I share your thoughts with regard to the national initiative. It seems like it's a "pat on the back"/"make the volunteer look too"/"get people to feel they are doing something" with no real intent to do any of it.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 16:10:14

@AnnieOH1 I am hugely appreciative of local volunteer services and recognise that most of their volunteers are likely to have volunteered elsewhere before, with many ID checked. I have used my local service. Thank you for all that you do flowers

I’m just frustrated the “official” service is so difficult to access.

Egghead68 Fri 10-Apr-20 16:11:54

@Baaaahhhhh I am not convinced that they are not needed, just that they are not accessible by those who need them.

Sandybval Fri 10-Apr-20 16:12:57

I don't know, but I've been 'on duty' for 166 hours so far and no alerts!

CherryBakebadly Fri 10-Apr-20 16:56:02

My local council has various links including medication delivery (by the scouts). Maybe worth a look?

Egghead68 Sat 11-Apr-20 07:24:07

@Sandybval I think your experience is typical unfortunately. It is almost impossible for people in the extremely vulnerable group to access the service. Such a shame.

@CherryBakebadly not available in my (or most) areas unfortunately and, to be honest, I am amazed they are letting children pick up potentially dangerous medications anywhere!

JayAlfredPrufrock Sat 11-Apr-20 07:31:02

I’ve been on duty for 193 hours but nothing yet. I do know of one person who has had one request.

I agree that it is teething problems and is endemic of the uk today.

All mouth and no trousers.

helpfulperson Sat 11-Apr-20 07:41:26

So it's only medication you need help with? (Since you've had food delivered but dont want that) Have you tried asking your pharmacy if the deliver?

FuzzyPuffling Sat 11-Apr-20 07:52:08

I contacted our local volunteer and she said she hadn't been given any instructions on what to do, neither did she know who the shielding people are in our village. She did do a helpful job for me ( posting a letter) but that was through the village help, rather than official channels.

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