NHS Responders

More information if you're self-isolating

This site will provide you with further information if you are self-isolating and are in need of support. Below you will find out how you can access support and some things to consider if you are going to receive support.

Please note: Providing you with volunteer support will involve us using your personal data, although we will keep this to a minimum. We will always ensure  that your personal data is safe and we will not use it for any other purpose. 


Am I entitled to support from a NHS Volunteer Responder?

If you are a person that has been told to self-isolate and have received a letter from your Health Practitioner or Local Authority then you are able to access support. If you haven't received the Getting Started Pack please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm). One of the team will take your details and raise a referral or request for support on your behalf.

If you have not received a letter from your Health Practitioner or Local Authority please refer to the criteria below to see if you qualify for support. 

The support of NHS Volunteer Responders is available to anyone who:

  • Has been advised to shield by a health professional;
  • Is vulnerable for another reason (for instance, disability, pregnancy, over 70, have Parkinson's, Epilepsy, or are vulnerable due to a mental health condition, etc.);
  • Is self-isolating because they have confirmed Covid 19 or suspected symptoms; or they have been in contact with someone who has;
  • Is someone with caring responsibilities, if this support helps them to continue in their caring role.
If you do, and need help collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies or just want a telephone ‘check in and chat’ to help prevent loneliness, please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm)


I've been referred, what happens next?

You will have been referred for one or more of the following types of support:

1.    A Community Response Volunteer to undertake errands such as grocery shopping and collecting prescriptions.

2.    A Check in and Chat Volunteer who will call you on the telephone to have a friendly conversation and to see if you are OK.

3.    A Patient Transport Volunteer to take you to medical appointments.

Over the coming days volunteer(s) will be in touch to help you. All NHS Volunteer Responders have been given clear instructions on how to help safely. In supporting you they must:

1.    Call you on the telephone before they undertake their duties (the exception is Check  in and Chat which is conducted entirely by phone).

2.    Tell you their name.

3.    Show their proof of identity for you to view if they are visiting in person, this will be displayed on their phone, see example in this letter. They should do this at a safe distance, for instance, by placing the phone on your doorstep and standing two metres back.

4.    Keep a safe distance from you when delivering groceries or medicines – two metres away.

5.    Not enter your property.

6.    Not share their own personal contact details with you.

7.    Respect your personal data and confidentiality at all times.

You must never:

  • Share your debit cards, credit cards or pin codes with your volunteer.
  • Give away personal financial information.


What are the ways I can pay for my shopping

If your volunteer is helping you with shopping or collecting prescriptions, you can discuss your preferred payment options with them on your initial phone call. There are a number of choices open to you; for instance, you might want to use online 'click and collect' services from your local supermarket, if you share the reference number, your volunteer can collect your shopping. 

Alternatively, local shops may allow you to call them to place an order and pay in advance (supermarkets are not able to offer this service). Other local shops - for example, most Spar outlets, are allowing payment to be taken by phone at check-out, allowing you to pay from home, once the volunteer has completed the shop. There are also a range of gift cards, e-vouchers, pre-paid cards and Grocery Choice cards which may be suitable to use. Your volunteer can use the card or the code to pay for your shop when they are in store. 

As a last resort, and if none of the other options are suitable, you are able to pay for the shopping with cash up to a limit of £45.  Your volunteer will always bring you a receipt and will follow necessary hygiene procedures when handling cards or cash. To find out more about payment options, click here


How can I make contact if I have concerns?

Our volunteers are giving their time to support others and are doing so for no reward. However, if the volunteer support you were expecting does not arrive, or if your volunteer behaves in a way you consider inappropriate, you should call us to let us know.

If you have any questions or concerns, and need to speak to us, you can find our number on the alerts we have sent you and in your Getting Started pack. We’re open 9am-6pm, 7 days a week.