More than 560,000 have signed up to volunteer for the NHS

The NHS originally wanted 300,000 volunteers to help it through the coronavirus crisis, but has now revised the target up to 750,000

St Thomas' Hospital in London (Photograph: David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
St Thomas' Hospital in London (Photograph: David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

More than 560,000 people have signed up to be NHS volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government had targeted the recruitment of 300,000 volunteers to help the NHS cope with the pandemic, but has already almost doubled its target, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Twitter.

This included 400,000 people signing up to volunteer in a single day, the NHS said in a statement.

The NHS has extended the target to 750,000. Volunteers can apply by visiting and adding their details to the NHS section.

NHS volunteer responders would be expected to carry out roles such as delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments or the hospital, or making regular phone calls to check on people who are self-isolating at home.

The NHS has joined up with the Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app – a digital tool to help people offer their services – for the volunteering initiative.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, said: “Times like this show just how generous the British people are and how much they value our health service. We are blown away by this response and the kindness of our country.

“I can’t thank those enough who have pledged to devote their time to helping others at what is a challenging and uncertain time.”

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the RVS, said: “In times like this you can really see the best in humanity: small gestures of compassion and connection that allow us to show who we are and what matters to us.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the number of people who have stepped forward and volunteered to be part of the NHS volunteer responders, but we are also not surprised: RVS witnessed a similar response during the outbreak of the Second World War, when a million women came forward to help those most in need.”

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