Patient volunteer recruitment plan

We’re sharing our volunteer recruitment plan. We’re an NHS GP practice and sharing our experience with setting up a patient volunteering programme. This section shares our top tips on setting up the programme. Before you begin you need to think through what your objectives are as an organisation. Is it to get help to support the delivery of a service, support patients with a specific need or opportunity for your staff to support the local community?

Understanding patient needs

The first place to start is deciding which area you want to focus on. In order to do this you will need to get data to support areas that you feel would have the most importance. Perhaps it is supporting digital health for older people. Alternatively, it could be supporting kids in schools. Whatever you focus on, your volunteer recruitment plan needs to reflect your local needs as a practice. Look at public health, and local authority data as well as your practice demographics.

Staff and your volunteer recruitment plan

Without your staff onboard your programme won’t work. Get their thoughts early on and engage them in the process. Ally any fears, arrange a meeting with a small number of patients so people have an idea of how the programme would actually work. Do a small-scale pilot to test staff reaction. We found that initial apprehension from staff were quickly eased and resulted in a more energised programme.

Resourcing your volunteer recruitment plan

You will need to have an effort and no matter how good your programme, it will need time to set up and run on an ongoing basis. This may be difficult at times if you have lots of other competing objectives. We found that doing this work in-house was more rewarding, rather than getting an outside organisation to run this.

NHS Volunteer recruitment plan – setting up the programme

  1. Understand the patient needs.

    Look at the data and make sure there is clarity around what you need patients to work on. Get as much data from public health and other sources. Understand what the patient need is and what you would like to achieve from the programme.

  2. Make Sure Staff are on informed and engaged.

    Involve staff early. Explain the reasons for the project and their roles in supporting volunteers. Ensure that they understand that volunteers may ask them for help and support. It is important that everyone understands each other’s roles.

  3. Resource

    For us, Set – up took 6-7 hours a week to set up and recruit. It also took 2 days update documents, generate job adverts and design posters. Sustain – 2 hours of staff time to update and support volunteers. ½ day every 3 months for surveys, feedback and training.Nhs Volunteers - resource needed

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