Coronavirus: Appeal for NHS volunteers increased to 750,000 after more than half a million answer the call

Call comes as UK prepares to 'Clap For Our Carers' in national display of support for NHS staff

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Thursday 26 March 2020 13:11
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Matt Hancock launches urgent appeal for 250,000 NHS volunteers

Downing Street has increased to 750,000 its target for volunteers to help the NHS cope with coronavirus, after half a million Britons came forward in the first 24 hours.

The new target was unveiled ahead of this evening’s “Clap for Our Carers” event which will see millions of people across the UK applaud health staff in a national show of support at 8pm.

Downing Street said the latest figure of volunteers stood at 560,000 this morning, following health secretary Matt Hancock’s plea on Tuesday for 250,000 to come forward.

Organisers of Clap for Our Carers are asking that as many people as possible get involved by applauding either outdoors or through open windows at the designated time to shop their support for all workers in the NHS, including doctors, nurses, GPs, pharmacists and emergency workers.

It comes after similar initiatives in homage to health workers in countries including Spain, France and the Netherlands.

Asked if the prime minister would be joining in, Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The PM will take every opportunity available to him to express his support for the fantastic efforts of the NHS.”

He added: “Our admiration for the fantastic work that the NHS staff all around the country are doing is without limit.

“I think the country are fully behind everything that the NHS is doing today.

“You can see that with the fantastic response that has come in to our volunteering appeal.

“I’m sure people across the country will be taking the opportunity to thank NHS staff for all that they are doing.”

The spokesman said that the volunteering appeal was not closing after smashing through its initial target.

“We want people to continue to volunteer,” he said. “If we can reach 750,000, that would be fantastic.”

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