Preston Medical Student Urges People To Support Local Community By Becoming NHS Responder

Jemini Patel is a third-year medical student who chose to sign up as a Community Response Volunteer and is encouraging more to join

When she was unable to undertake her GP placement at the start of the pandemic, Jemini decided to help out her local community by becoming an NHS Volunteer Responder.

NHS Volunteer Responders support the community by helping in areas such as:

  • avoid busy places by collecting their shopping, medicines and other important items
  • have regular contact with other people by making regular friendly phone calls
  • get to medical appointments by giving lifts.

The medical student explains how the demand for responders is rising and she wants to encourage more people to sign up.

“On the 24th of March, our health secretary put out a plea for a quarter of a million volunteers to provide support. The initiative aimed to recruit people to shop, deliver medicine and support those who were shielding in their homes. This service was set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement, working with the Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSam app.

“But the demand for help has increased in the Preston area due to this new wave of Covid. I was hoping my story would encourage more people to help the community during this time.”

Jemini has found the experience of being an NHS responder to be very rewarding:

“The whole experience has been incredibly humbling, especially as all of the people I am helping are so grateful for the support. To me, it’s a small act, but I really see how for those who aren’t able to leave the house, it is life-changing.”

“It’s mainly consisted of doing shopping trips for members who are shielding/isolating. I have also been collecting medication from pharmacies to those who are struggling to get out. It’s been really nice as it feels like I’ve been helping the community. It feels like such small tasks, but everyone has been so grateful.”

A collection of prescriptions that Jemini delivered

Volunteer Responders also help those self-isolating who may be feeling lonely:

“I think it’s been really difficult for those who are elderly/shielding, who don’t have family/friends close by who can help them with food shops/bringing them essential items.

“Sometimes it’s just been a case of just having a chat with people over the phone who might be feeling lonely and isolated. The great thing about volunteering is that it’s really flexible, you only help out when you can!”

If you would like to sign up to be NHS Volunteer Responder or for any more information, visit the NHS website here.

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