NHS volunteer responders available to anyone who feels at higher risk of contracting COVID-19

23 Apr 2020

Health and social care professionals have been informed today that they can refer people directly to the NHS volunteer responder scheme.

The scheme, established in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic, was launched as a means of supporting those who are self-isolating or have been told to shield* because they are at higher risk from the virus.

An article in the Daily Telegraph just days ago highlighted that some people who are choosing to shield* because they have underlying health concerns or are otherwise at higher risk of severity should they contract COVID-19 have not been able to benefit from the service.

However, the NHS circulated a letter to health and social care professionals today detailing how to refer people into the NHS volunteer responder scheme. The letter highlighted that referrals could be made for anyone with any medical problem if the professional deemed that it put them at a higher risk.

This could therefore apply to those living with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and dementia.

Dr David Paling, faculty member of MS Academy and neurologist in Sheffield, reported that the patients he referred to the service were responded to that same day.

For more information, or to refer into the scheme, visit the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal.


  • ‘Self-isolate’ - to keep strictly at home and away from all others in your household for up to 14 days after showing symptoms.
  • ‘Shield’ - to keep strictly at home alongside others in your household to avoid exposure to the virus.
  • ‘Lockdown’ - to keep at home with the exception of one outing for exercise per day, and limited use of shops for food and medicines only.)
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