Volunteering in General Practices


Thank you for your interest in volunteering. Please get in touch with your name and email and we will contact you with volunteering opportunities.
Additionally, you may want to also consider getting involved with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust or Sobell House

Why is working with volunteers important for GP practices?

Volunteering is a key enabler in transforming the way the NHS works with people and communities and is essential for the success of the Five Year Forward View .

One of the big ideas underpinning change is the concept of ‘people-powered health’. This is about creating a health service that moves beyond professionals treating patients, towards a vision where people are more active in looking after their own health and that of others, and people are also supporting health services as by volunteering.

Making the latter a reality will require the NHS to mobilise people’s passion, skills and time at a larger scale and more consistently across the system. Volunteer programmes are well established in other healthcare settings (e.g. hospitals and social care) however General Practice as a whole does not currently have the mechanisms to develop and deliver high quality, sustainable volunteer opportunities (although there are isolated examples).

In responding to current pressures in primary care and to the drive to move patients’ care closer to home and away from hospitals, investing in working with volunteers now is well-timed. The good news too is that people want to help too: a recent survey suggests 24 million British adults would consider volunteering in a health context and 3 million people are already doing so across the system.

How do we plan to introduce volunteering into GP practices?

Our ambition is for volunteers to become a meaningful part of every practice team. By opening ourselves up to work with more people though volunteering, we will:

  • Create capacity in practices to meet increasing demand
  • Improve quality of experience (for patients and staff)
  • Make a difference to people’s health and wellbeing

We have invested in a Volunteering Innovation Manager role to support a smaller group of Pioneer practices to test and develop the volunteering programme before scaling it to the wider network. The overall process and key activities will include:

  • Scoping phase – where we improve our understanding of the potential for working with volunteers and identity the Pioneer practices
  • Design phase – where we develop the new volunteering roles and co-create a framework to support volunteer involvement e.g. decide how people will be recruited, inducted and managed while supporting the practice
  • Test phase – where we will recruit new volunteers and get people supporting practices, capturing learning across the two month test period
  • Evaluation phase – where we will review how the Test phase went in terms of impact for practices, the quality of experience for the volunteers and the impact on the patient experience. We will use this insight to iterate and improve our current roles and framework for volunteering
  • Scale phase – where we will support more practices to introduce the roles that have been tested by the Pioneer practices.

What are the new Health Champion Volunteering roles?

We have been working with a group of our member practices to develop four ways people can make a difference:


Become a 'Health Champion Buddy' - promote well being and resilience to help people with long term conditions and/or loneliness


Support your GP Practices as a practice based 'Health Champion' - to support people to use online services at their GP Practice to get access to care more quickly

Current Opportunities

We are now currently recruiting Health Champions, please feel free to get in touch with us should you like to express your interest .

For more information

For more information about the Volunteering projects, please contact oxfed.people@nhs.net, 01865 223900.