Northumberland hospital appeals for volunteers to lend a hand during crisis

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Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is appealing for volunteers who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times.

It is calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.

Northumbria, like many NHS organisations, has seen numbers dwindle due to the national guidelines to protect over 70s and those with underlying health conditions.

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People do not need medical or care experience, just a commitment to help the NHS cope with the increase in demand as a result of Coronavirus.

Staff at the Northumbria specialist emergency care hospital in Cramlington.Staff at the Northumbria specialist emergency care hospital in Cramlington.
Staff at the Northumbria specialist emergency care hospital in Cramlington.

On a busy ward this could include helping to change beds, making a cuppa, chatting to patients or running errands to help staff speed up processes. Within the community, this could mean linking with other groups to support community health services or those who are socially isolated.

Volunteers would not be asked to carry out the duties of paid staff.

Sir James Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Quite simply, the NHS here in Northumberland and North Tyneside needs your help.

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“We greatly value the contribution of our hundreds of volunteers and the support they provide to our patients and staff in our hospitals and in the community.

“Sadly, many of our current volunteers have been asked to stand down due to the national guidance. This is absolutely the right thing to do to protect them and their families and, already, we are deeply missing them.

“As we prepare for more and more patients to need our help, the time is now for us to ask the general public to come forward to support us at this incredibly busy time.

“Please be assured that we only be asking people to provide an extra pair of helping hands which will make a massive difference to our patients and staff during this difficult period.”

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People volunteering their time at Northumbria Healthcare must:

Be aged between 16 and 68; Be fit and well with no underlying health conditions or live, or care for, anyone who doesBe subject to checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)Not have symptoms of a high temperature and/or persistent cough

Northumbria Healthcare already works in partnership with Helpforce to ensure volunteering is an integral part of healthcare and makes a positive difference for patients, volunteers and NHS staff.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder of Helpforce, said: “As we face unprecedented changes to our way of life, we are working hard with Northumbria Healthcare and our colleagues across our health and care services by looking at practical ways volunteers can help take the strain off frontline services.

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“Keeping you and your loved ones safe is an absolute priority, but we must not forget those alone and at higher risk. Please be confident that we are dedicated to doing more and helping our partners to do the same.”

To volunteer or for more information, contact [email protected], 0191 203 1511 or 07768 570178.