Commenting on the King’s Fund report into the use of volunteers in the NHS published today (Tuesday), UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “The pressures on the NHS are indeed immense, and volunteers have a role to play. But they cannot, and should never, take the place of paid employees.
“With resources so stretched across the NHS, health workers know they can’t always spend the quality time they’d like with patients. But if volunteers can help someone feel less anxious about their hospital stay, that helps staff too.
“Health workers need reassurances that volunteers aren’t going to be seen as free employees. The charter that health unions are developing with Helpforce will help define the roles of staff and of volunteers, and ensure there’s no blurring of the lines between them.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.