Government consults on volunteering strategy

The Government has launched a four-month consultation on volunteers in the NHS, the social care sector and the third sector, which it says will lead to a national volunteering strategy next year.

Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, launched the consultation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London on 3 June, after spending the morning working as volunteer in the hospital shop and on the wards.

The consultation is designed to raise the profile of volunteering and help improve the management of volunteers. It will also look at ways of evaluating the outcomes and benefits of volunteering.

Baroness Julia Neuberger, whose report on volunteering in the public services was published in March, said she was looking forward to seeing how the Department of Health would turn its words into action. “There needs to be a cultural change, to a health service that truly appreciates the value of volunteers – and they need to be invested in,” she said.

Fiona Dawe, chief executive of youth information charity YouthNet, said more had to be done to promote a culture of volunteering in the NHS. “The Department of Health is recognising the vital contribution of millions of people, including patients and service-users themselves,” she said.

The consultation will run until 30 September. It comes after a review of funding given by the DoH to third sector organisations, which was completed in March.

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