It may be about to turn 70, but the nation’s love of the National Health Service remains as strong as ever, with thousands of people in Wales saying they would consider stepping-up to support the service in what continues to be a challenging time.

New research conducted by YouGov for national volunteering organisation, Royal Voluntary Service, finds nearly one fifth of adults in Wales would consider volunteering to support the NHS.

Across Great Britain, 67 per cent of the 2001 respondents polled believe volunteers have a vital role to play in supporting the NHS and more than half agree giving time to the NHS is equally as important as providing finance.

Our continued love affair with the NHS was also evident, with the study revealing 87 per cent of us believe the NHS is a national treasure and should be treated as such.

Indeed, the research estimates around four per cent of adults in Britain are already volunteering in some capacity to support the service.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive, Royal Voluntary Service said: “Our NHS is envied across the world and with continued developments in medicine helping us to live longer, it is no surprise there are constantly new pressures facing the service.

"As a society we need to find new ways to support our NHS and I can see huge opportunities for us and others to do more through the gift of voluntary service.

"From expanding our existing services such as home from hospital to exploring new ways to relieve some of the pressures, I believe volunteers can support our NHS to have more time for patient care.”

The survey went on to question how the public felt volunteers could ease the burden on the NHS. More than half felt volunteers could increase patient and visitor satisfaction by providing vital non-medical support on wards and 49 per cent said they could improve the mood within a hospital as well as provide reassurance and company to patients when doctors and nurses are stretched for time.

Two fifths said volunteers could help reduce readmissions by helping patients make a smooth transition back home and 44 per cent believe they would help improve the emotional and personal care provided to patients.

Catherine Johnstone continues: “Few of us need convincing of the benefits that volunteers can bring, but there is a growing recognition within the NHS of the need to bring together staff and volunteer teams on a more strategic basis.

"This is not about replacing NHS staff roles but about providing extra time for care and support, particularly for people without their own network of family and friends.”

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