Volunteering in NHS Scotland

Volunteering in NHS Scotland

Our Volunteering in NHSScotland programme helps make volunteering in the NHS a safe, supportive and positive experience for all the volunteers and the people they come into contact with.

We support NHS boards to develop sustainable volunteering programmes through advice and guidance on volunteer management models, recruitment, engagement, policy development and risk management. We also created a national Volunteering Information System, which is now being used by 18 NHS boards to record key data on volunteers and to support improvement.

There are over 6,000 volunteers engaged across the NHS in Scotland, and many others support the delivery of health and social care through the third sector. Volunteers improve the experiences of people who are being cared for in many ways, including providing activities, taking time to talk, providing additional support to staff, transporting patients to appointments, and behind the scenes.

Volunteering improves the health and experience of recipients of care. It also has a beneficial impact on the volunteers themselves, as described in our case studies.

Executive and Strategic Leads for Volunteering

From 2008 to 2019 NHS boards were required to nominate a Strategic Lead for Volunteering (CEL 10 2008).  Since August 2019, the Scottish Government has required boards to identify a Strategic Lead and an Executive Lead for Volunteering, which will strengthen local governance arrangements for volunteering.

Programme response to COVID-19

We have made some changes to our workplan as a result of the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

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Volunteering Information System

The Volunteering Information System allows NHS boards to administer data about their volunteers and report on activity.

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Guidance and Publications

Information, guidance and good practice publications which will support people who manage volunteers within the NHS in Scotland.

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Case Studies

Case studies from across Scotland describe the positive impact that volunteering has on patients, families, staff and the volunteers themselves.

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National Group for Volunteering

The National Group for Volunteering oversees and provides leadership to the Volunteering in NHSScotland programme and engages with the Scottish Government.

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Volunteer Managers Network

We support volunteering managers in each NHS board through a series of regional and national Volunteer Managers Network events.

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Current programme

We have hosted the Volunteering in NHSScotland Programme since October 2011.

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Last Updated: 25 May 2020