Notes to editors
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In March 2013, The King’s Fund published the report Volunteering in health and care: Securing a sustainable future. This considered the future of volunteering in the context of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and wider system changes. It highlighted the lack of data at the local level on volunteering in the NHS. Following this report, the Department of Health funded The King’s Fund to carry out a survey focusing on the scale and value of volunteering in NHS acute trusts.
All 166 acute trusts in England were invited to take part in the survey. 99 responses were collected from mid-May to mid-August 2013, a response rate of 60 per cent.
The survey found an average of 471 volunteers in surveyed acute trusts, which would translate to more than 78,000 volunteers in acute trusts across the whole of England. This does not include the contribution of volunteers in mental health trusts, general practice and other settings. It also does not consider people who give their time in a governance capacity in acute trusts.
Of 91 survey respondents, 66 per cent said that the profile of volunteers now is younger compared to five years ago. Of 89 who responded to the question about diversity, 56 per cent said there is more diversity in terms of ethnicity compared to five years ago.
The report includes an in-depth look at how volunteering schemes work at three case study sites. These were University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Pennine Acute Hospital NHS Trust.
On the same day as the report, a new initiative launched by Nesta will support up to 15 hospitals to support innovative approaches to volunteering, and to measure the impact volunteers have on patients’ experience. The programme fund (of up to £1.5m) is run by Nesta and funded by the Innovation Fund within the Cabinet Office’s Centre for Social Action. For more information, please visit Nesta's website or contact the Nesta media team on 020 7438 2606.