Report calls for a ‘movement’ in NHS volunteering abroad
“Great progress” has been achieved by NHS volunteers in low and middle income countries, leading to benefits in the UK a report released today claims.
The NHS has gained in terms of service innovation, leadership development as well as improved health for others around the world.
The report, released by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, called for a volunteering "movement".
The report states: “Overseas volunteering from the NHS needs to continue to become more professional and more ambitious: to move from a plethora of schemes to a movement.
“The challenge now is to fully realise these benefits by accelerating efforts to professionalise the scale, quality and organisation of these programmes.”
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Many nurse volunteers say that overseas volunteering really tests and builds their clinical nursing skills and judgement, and many return with a stronger commitment to nursing as well as new, innovative approaches to care.
"The RCN will continue to provide information and support to members who want to volunteer overseas, and will keep on working with others government and employers to address obstacles to good volunteering.”
The report claims that overseas volunteering strengthens the capacity of health systems, institutions, and professionals in the developing world.
It helps to fill major knowledge and skills gaps among health workers in low and middle income countries, where weaker training structures mean the chance to be supported by UK professionals is highly valued.
Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England said: “A period overseas can broaden experiences and thinking in a whole host of new ways.“It changes people forever” is the quote that we hear directly back from people. It can revitalise people and helps them realise just how fortunate we are to have the NHS.”