Can you help the NHS by volunteering?
By Joe Harker
Health secretary Matt Hancock wants to recruit a quarter of a million volunteers to help the people the government has said must stay indoors for the next 12 weeks to protect them from the coronavirus.
The NHS asked for help and 170,000 Brits have already answered, with the medical director of NHS England praising the "absolutely astonishing" public response.
One and a half million Brits have been told they must stay indoors for the next 12 weeks in order to shield them from the virus. They include the elderly and those with particularly serious health conditions which make them particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Community response volunteers will handle the delivery of food and medicine to people who aren't allowed to leave their homes, while patient transport volunteers will drive people home from the hospital after they have been discharged.
NHS transport volunteers will drive healthcare equipment between sites and could be asked to help pharmacies with delivering medicine. Check in and chat volunteers will be ringing up the most vulnerable and providing some company over the phone to those who can't go out and see other people for weeks.
Due to a fantastic swell of support the NHS got two thirds of the way towards the target of 250,000 volunteers within the first 15 hours of asking for help.
How to volunteer:
If you want to sign up then you can register on this website and fill in your details, you will then be given login details for an app where you can set yourself to being "on duty" and find tasks which the NHS needs doing.
Hancock has said you will need to be over 18, fit and showing no symptoms of the coronavirus to provide voluntary services for the NHS.
Those who are more at risk of the virus themselves such as over 70s, pregnant women and those with existing health conditions can still offer their services and will likely be asked to provide support over the phone as a check in and chat volunteer.
People who become ill during their volunteering can pause their activities until their illness passes. Volunteers will still need to follow the social distancing rules while helping the NHS.