Check in and chat volunteer service - NHS responders

The check in and chat service involves volunteers phoning patients for a friendly chat.

Over 1000 thousand volunteers have signed up to provide friendly phone calls for patients in England who are vulnerable, isolated or lonely, as the NHS Volunteer Responders programme reintroduces its Check in and Chat service.

GPs, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers are being encouraged to request Check in and Chat support for patients who are socially isolated or would benefit from a phone call and a bit of encouragement – with an option to request just a one-off call or a series of calls.

With thousands more volunteers expected to sign up in the coming weeks, this move signals a new phase of the NHS volunteer programme, which was set up at the start of the pandemic to support people who were self-isolating with simple tasks such as shopping, fetching medication and lifts to medical appointments.

Building on the vital role volunteers play in the NHS, in its 75th year, this is the first of a range of volunteer activities that will be introduced to support health and care services and improve patient experience.

Check in and Chat volunteers will provide a listening ear and, where appropriate, help patients explore positive changes they could make to their lives, for example to connect with others, become more physically active or to learn new skills or volunteer, and will signpost to other services and support in the community.

To self refer to the check in and chat service please call the NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646. 

Published on 4 May 2023