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PM asks for 250k NHS volunteers and over 750k are recruited in days

PM asks for 250k NHS volunteers and over 750k are recruited in days

The number of people who have volunteered to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus has passed 750,000, triple the government's recruitment target.


Amazing things happen when you focus on what you can do!


This is an unbelievable feat but came from focusing on what was needed, not what could be delivered with current resources. Once the 'what was needed' the focus turned to 'how could we possibly achieve this?'

The key is to breakdown your thinking into simple steps

Below is a 'speed learning' version for a quick demonstration of how to break the noise in your head and stop focusing on things you can't control. Switch your energy onto what you can control.

Step 1 - What do you need to do?

The Governments question was probably: How can we possibly relieve pressure on the NHS?

Then focus on the things that could possibly 'relieve the pressure' don't get bogged down with the how!
- We need more non skilled people
- We need more specialist people
- We need more equipment
- We need more beds

By breaking the challenges down into more specific points means you can then tackle EACH NEED identified with absolute focus.

Step 2 - How could we possibly do this?

- We need more non skilled people

One of the 'HOWs' would to be to identify the 'non clinical/non specialist' roles which will could be easily fulfilled by non skilled people:

    - Delivering medicines from pharmacies
    - Driving patients to appointments
    - Bringing them home from hospital
    - Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home

- We need more specialist people

    - Request former NHS skilled employees to return

- We need more equipment

    - Ask UK businesses 'to help' manufacture/rethink what we need

- We need more beds

    - How could we possible create new hospital capacity?

    - The conversion of EXPO venues (as they are closed) is genius, but it came from breaking the problem down.

Step 3 - Create clear project teams to manage these specific elements

If you try and do everything, you'll probably finish nothing. The Government needed to move at speed, so created teams of experts with a clear brief. Then let them get on with it. Before putting a call out for volunteers, etc, they set the criteria and define the process - so you rethink the way to manage it BEFORE doing it.

If you are the only person focused on this, or are a smaller team, you may want to think about what's most important, priorities the things you need to work on - and then FOCUS on just the one aspect until it is done. Then move on to the next priority.


The NHS asked for 250k volunteers and gets over 750k in days

So the time spent thinking, enables them to test plans, processes and define what's needed with absolute clarity. Breaking down the priorities of what's needed within a specific project team the three steps are simply repeated.

Step 1 - What do you need to do?

Step 2 - How could we possibly do this?

Step 3 - Who could possibly manage this?

i.e. Create clear project teams to manage these specific elements

The people who volunteer will be helping the NHS by performing simple but vital roles which help people without compromising strict government advice on self-isolation and social distancing.


Do not reinvent the wheel, what you need has most likely been done before

Human compassion comes to the fore at times of great crisis. We saw that when Royal Voluntary Service was first founded during the outbreak of WW2 when a million women stepped forward to help those in need.

“Since then our volunteers have continued to provide vital support in hospitals and in communities; helping people get back on their feet after a personal crisis. In 2020 we find ourselves once again facing a daunting national challenge.  We are proud to support the NHS at this important moment and we are certain many thousands of people will selflessly step up to play their part.
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive, RVS


NHS Volunteer Responders is not intended to replace local groups

NHS Volunteer Responders is an additional service provided by the NHS to support those helping their vulnerable neighbours. GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for their at-risk patients via a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), who will match people who need help with volunteers who live near to them. Some charities will also be able to refer people to the service.

The drive will now be temporarily paused to enable the charity to process the applications and work together with the NHS to get the volunteer army up and running.




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