Coronavirus: UK answers rallying cry for NHS volunteers as 405,000 people sign up to help
25 March 2020, 19:53
The Prime Minister has thanked the 405,000 people who have already signed up to become NHS volunteers - just one day after the government asked people to help.
During Wednesday's press conference on coronavirus The Prime Minister announced that the UK had smashed the 250,000 target and thanked everyone who had already signed up.
He said: "After the appeal last night, we hoped to get 250,000 volunteers over a few days. But I can tell you that in just 24 hours 405,000 people have responded to the call."
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock launched an urgent appeal to recruit a quarter of a million volunteers to work for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
Mr Hancock said: "I know how worried people are and while this is a great time of turbulence, it is a moment too that the country can come together in that national effort.
"As the next step in that effort, today we launch NHS volunteers. We are seeking a quarter of million volunteers - people in good health - to help the NHS, for shopping, in delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded to protect their own health."
The Prime Minister also set out how these volunteers will help.
"They will be driving medicines from pharmacies to patients, they will be bringing patients home from hospital, very importantly they will be making regular phone calls to check on and support people who are staying on their own at home," he said.
"And they will be absolutely crucial in the fight against this virus.
"That is already, in one day, as many volunteers as the population of Coventry. And so, to all of you, and to all the former NHS staff who are coming back now into the service I say thank you on behalf of the entire country."
The government previously appealed for retired NHS workers to rejoin to tackled the virus, with 11,778 answering that call and returning to work.
They included 2,660 doctors, more than 2,500 pharmacists and other staff and 6,147 nurses.
On Wednesday, the UK coronavirus death toll reached 437.