HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE – NHS VOLUNTEERS AND CARE HOMES [43574 – formerly 40457] – 27 April 2020
Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of NHS Volunteer Responders have been cleared to undertake tasks in support of the NHS; and whether it is his policy that those volunteers should also undertake tasks in support of care homes and the National Care Force.  [Redesignated as no. 43574]
[Due for Answer on 4 May.] [Revised date for Answer on 11 May. Answered on 14 May.]
Owing to a – most unusual – error in Parliament's processing system, the reference numbers for this Question and for Question 40456 were wrongly attached to another MP's Questions. Consequently, both had to be re-tabled on 5 May with a new date for Answer on 11 May.
11 May: HOLDING ANSWER: The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.
The Minister of State for Social Care (Helen Whately): As of 7 May 2020, out of the 750,000 people who have signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, 589,731 have completed the necessary identity checks to begin helping those most vulnerable. The volunteers will undertake four community-based tasks, including shopping and collecting medication for someone who is self-isolating and telephone support to individuals at risk of loneliness.
The NHS Volunteer Responders programme was set up to provide direct support to vulnerable people, and to reduce the pressure on the National Health Service and social care during the pandemic. Social care providers and local authorities are able to refer vulnerable people into the programme, while individuals themselves and carers can now also self-refer for volunteer support. NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department are engaging with the social care sector to consider how volunteers can further support social care services, taking into account social distancing and infection control measures.