Does The NHS Take Volunteers? A New BBC Show Delves Into The Heart Of The Health Service

The Big Hospital Experiment/BBC

Oh NHS, I do love you. I really do. For many Brits the NHS has been a stalwart of their entire existence. But as an immigrant to these lovely isles let me tell you, you guys couldn't possibly know how lucky you are. Real talk and I mean it. However, owing to more reasons than I could possibly articulate in one article, the beautiful NHS is struggling. And with so many people eager to save our NHS and do their part, the question is — does the NHS take volunteers?

In short, yes. In the ways you might expect. In areas such as administration, maintenance of gardens, companionship etc. Which are all very important and vital volunteering opportunities. But imagine if these volunteers actually helped in the care and treatment of patients? What would that look like?

Well, a new series on BBC2 called The Big Hospital Experiment will see a social experiment based on a scheme in Germany come to the UK. In the experiment, 14 plucky young volunteers aged between 18 and 24 get the chance to spend four whole weeks helping in an unprecedented way. They'll be delivering patient care on the frontline of the NHS. The experiment, which is based in Royal Derby Hospital, will find out if volunteers could potentially help take the enormous weight off the shoulders of NHS staff.

The Big Hospital Experiment/BBC

Which in time could make the world of difference to the efficiency of the country's health care system.

Clinical Educator Andy is on hand to train them, making sure that the team of volunteers are fully able to get a grasp what they are undertaking and the tasks required of them. The safety of the patients they are dealing with day to day is of paramount importance. Andy spoke to the BBC about the experiment, sharing his fairly obvious concerns.

"It's a big job, I’m very nervous. They could kill somebody."

The experiment might not only change the way the NHS works and open opportunities for people to take part. It could also be a truly life-changing experience for the 14 plucky volunteers.

While working in the hospital, they'll be helping out in all sorts of areas — assisting staff as they treat patients young and old. Helping expectant mothers in the maternity ward, patients in A&E, unwell children in the paediatrics department, elderly patients, and everything in between.

So who'll be guiding them through this unique experiment? Senior nurses and sisters will be their showing them the ropes in their volunteering experience. They'll teach them to cope with some of the most physically and emotionally strenuous weeks of their lives. Hoping that the volunteers could one day lighten the load of the staff who are training them up.

The Big Hospital Experiment/BBC

So how do you think they'll cope? I mean how would anybody cope with the literal blood, sweat, and tears faced by people working in the NHS?

I guess the only way to find out is to watch the show and see it all unfold. Who knows, maybe you'll end up volunteering yourself.