Lonely patients referred for check in and chat service

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme has reintroduced its Check in and Chat service, with more than a thousand volunteers have signed up to provide phone calls for vulnerable, isolated or lonely patients in England.

Healthcare workers including GPs and pharmacists are being encouraged to request the support for patients who are socially isolated and who would benefit from a phone call.

Thousands more volunteers are expected to sign up over the coming weeks.

The NHS volunteer programme was set up at the start of the pandemic to support people who were self-isolating.

The volunteers will provide a listening ear and, where appropriate, help patients explore positive changes they could make to their lives, such as connecting with others or becoming more physically active.

The services is coming back following insight from GPs and social prescribers that many of their patients weren’t as socially connected as they had been before the pandemic.

Chief nursing officer for England, Ruth May said: “We are extremely grateful to our incredible volunteers who support the NHS and the British public, including during our greatest time of need in the pandemic.

“It is fantastic that over a thousand volunteers have now signed up again to provide these invaluable calls for patients that are vulnerable, isolated or lonely, and to help our staff in providing the best care possible.

“It is very easy for GPs, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers to refer patients to the Check in and Chat service through a simple online platform – and we know what a difference a neighbourly phone call can make if you’re feeling isolated or in need of some support.”

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

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