The Duchess of Cornwall has praised volunteers who have signed up to work with the NHS as the UK continues to treat people with COVID-19 and ramps up protections.
Over 750,000 people have signed up to volunteer since the NHS Volunteer Responders call was posted. According to the Royal Voluntary Service, these volunteers will complete tasks including “delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, bringing them home from hospital, making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home, [and] transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.”
The volunteers will be deployed to their roles using a portal where health professionals will upload tasks and each person sign up for a job.
“We are already matching volunteers with vulnerable people in their local area to perform the tasks they have signed up to do,” said Catherine Johnstone, the Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service.
“During the coming weeks and months, they will be called upon to help those who are vulnerable and at risk who are self-isolating for their own protection. Not only will this help to relieve pressure on the NHS – but it will also save lives.”
The Duchess of Cornwall sent a message of thanks to those who have signed up to volunteer. Her message, posted on the Royal Voluntary Service website, reads in full:
“As the proud President of the Royal Voluntary Service, I wanted to send my warmest thanks to all the NHS Volunteer Responders who have come forward in unprecedented numbers to offer help to the NHS.
“Royal Voluntary Service has been working with the NHS to recruit people in England who can assist those who are most in need of practical and emotional support at this time. Thankfully, the charity has a long and remarkable history of bringing willing volunteers together with the isolated and lonely. That experience is needed more than ever in these challenging times. And today many more NHS Volunteer Responders will get in touch with the people they have so kindly offered to help.
“Everyone working in the NHS is under unimaginable pressure day and night in this crisis. I feel sure that the presence of so many wonderful volunteers will encourage, as well as support, them. I salute each one of you – and thank you with all my heart.”
The Royal Voluntary Service also revealed that Camilla has been in contact with an 85-year-old woman named Doris Winfield, who has been self-isolating in Rickmansworth away from her children and friends.
“Having a chat with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meant the world to me. I’ve been incredibly lonely over the last couple of weeks and it was wonderful to talk to her,” Winfield said in a statement on the Royal Voluntary Service website.
“We talked about life in isolation and shared hobbies, she was very interested in my family and how I was coping without them. It’s really cheered me up!”
Camilla has been self-isolating in Scotland after her husband tested positive for the novel coronavirus in late March. Her 14-day isolation period came to an end this week.