HUNDREDS of thousands of people have stepped forward in a single day to join the NHS's volunteer army.

More than 405,700 people have already signed up to help in the fight against coronavirus, smashing the original target by more than 100,000.


Volunteers are being sought help 1.5 million vulnerable people, who have been asked to shield themselves from Covid-19 because of underlying health conditions.

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The NHS has now increased its target to 750,000, and invited more people to sign up

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "Times like this show just how generous the British people are and how much they value our health service - we are blown away by this response and the kindness of our country.

"I can’t thank those enough who have pledged to devote their time to helping others at what is a challenging and uncertain time for you and your families.

"The NHS is always there for you – now is your time to be there for us too."

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Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, added: "We are truly amazed by the number of people who want to come and help us in the war against coronavirus.

"I would like to thank every last one of you who are offering your time – you will without a doubt help us to save lives.

"Our NHS needs you – whether it’s by volunteering or simply staying at home – you are helping your families, communities and protecting our NHS."

Members of the public can sign up as NHS volunteer responders for a number of roles, 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

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The health service has teamed up with the Royal Voluntary Service and a digital app called GoodSAM to recruit volunteers.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the former, said: "In times like this you can really see the best in humanity – small gestures of compassion and connection that allow us to show who we are and what matters to us.

"Royal Voluntary Service witnessed a similar response during the outbreak of WW2 when a million women came forward to help those most in need."