Volunteering in NHS Scotland Annual Report 2022-23

Volunteering in NHS Scotland Annual Report 2022-23

Our annual report sets out key activity undertaken by the NHS Scotland Volunteering Programme in 2022-23. 

The value of NHS Scotland volunteering

NHS Scotland volunteers are active in every NHS board in Scotland, and undertake a wide variety of roles which add value to the care and support of patients and their families.

Volunteers provide support in hospital wards and outpatient departments, assist patients and visitors to find their way around, tend gardens, provide befriending and listening services, help provide spaces for staff to relax and recharge – to name just a few of the ways that volunteers add value to NHS Scotland services.

In 2022-23 NHS Scotland volunteers gifted 483,000 hours of their time, contributing the equivalent of £7.3 million to Scotland’s economy (calculated using Volunteer Scotland’s formula).

An average of 2,932 volunteers participated each month in 2022-23

Download our annual report

File type: pdf
File size: 2 MB
Publication date: September 2023

National NHS Scotland Volunteer Induction training

Between April 2022 and March 2023, a total of 657 learners began the training course which is hosted on NHS Education for Scotland's Turas platform. Of the 585 learners (89%) who completed the training course, 24% provided feedback using the 5-star rating system which is built into the platform. Most learners gave the course 5 stars, and no learners rated the course lower than 3 stars.

Some 45% of the 141 learners who provided feedback using the star rating system also provided us with comments relating to their experience. Many learners highlighted that the course is informative and helpful, and some drew attention to areas for improvement. Any suggestions received as areas for improvement are acted upon during the planned annual review of the training course and its content.

It was very informative and helpful. I managed to gain a greater understanding and knowledge about volunteering through this volunteering induction.

Course participant

Volunteering Management System

A significant amount of scoping work was carried out in 2022-23, supported by the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre to develop the business architecture, business model, process mapping, functional requirements and budget for a new digital platform for volunteering in NHS Scotland.

We saw significant levels of engagement in the scoping work from staff working in volunteering related roles across NHS Scotland, with 81 staff attending across 9 sessions. We are grateful for their input and support.

Recognising and celebrating volunteering

Each year we host a webinar as part of our Volunteers’ Week celebrations. In June 2022, we held a webinar on ‘Inclusive Volunteering: turning intent into action’ which was attended by 110 participants.

During Volunteers’ Week, Programme Manager Janice Malone accompanied Sophie Ross, an NHS Scotland volunteer to a special reception at the Scottish Parliament where Sophie shared her own experience of the difference that volunteering made to her.

We were also delighted to highlight the contribution of a number of NHS Scotland volunteers through case studies, some of which were picked up in local press.

Messages of thanks and gratitude for the work of volunteer managers working in NHS Scotland was the focus for us on International Volunteer Managers' Day on 5 November 2022.

A volunteering showcase took place on 5 December 2022 to celebrate International Volunteers Day. We heard from volunteers involved in the Volunteer Community Listeners Service in NHS Tayside and the Youth Volunteering Summer Programme 2022 in NHS Lothian.

Discharge Support Volunteering Pilot – NHS Tayside

In partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Helpforce and NHS Education for Scotland, NHS Tayside designed and delivered an 18-week pilot of a volunteer discharge support service between October 2022 and February 2023. The service involved volunteers calling patients for up to 5 consecutive days following discharge. Additionally, volunteers provided support to the family members and carers of the patient to ensure that they were managing well with caring for their loved one post-discharge.

Emerging findings suggest that volunteer support can result in improved outcomes for patients' and family members/carers' emotional wellbeing and confidence in care. Overall, staff perceptions of patient safety and community connections after discharge appear to have improved and most individuals were satisfied with the service. However, there were some challenges in embedding the service within the hospital discharge process. Most volunteers appear to have enjoyed their volunteering experience; however, anticipated outcomes do not appear to have been met for all, and example of this is increasing their interest in a career in health or care.

Last Updated: 1 December 2023