Clear Pathway is a collaborative project working to support the delivery of safe, effective and person centred volunteering in NHS settings, where volunteers are recruited and managed by third sector organisations. The project is funded by the Scottish Government and its final output will be guidance for NHS boards and third sector organisations. Clear Pathway was designed in collaboration with the Scottish Government and the Volunteering in NHSScotland programme delivered by Scottish Health Council. Our project aims to complement the national programme and we are an active member of the programme’s National Group.
Volunteers have been involved in health settings for many decades. The NHS directly deploys hundreds of volunteers directly, particularly in hospitals. However, there is no national picture about the extent, nature and contribution of volunteers deployed by third sector organisations in NHS settings. Following the publication of the Lampard Report in 2015 VHS and its partners agreed that work should be undertaken to improve our understanding about third sector volunteering in the NHS and to scope areas for improvement.
With an emphasis on identifying ‘what works well’ Clear Pathway has set out to encourage more strategic engagement, collaboration and shared learning between NHS and third sector organisations, building on strengths to improve the effectiveness of the third sector volunteer contribution and the care and safety of patients. Practical work (from May 2016) focused on identifying and mapping existing practice, issues and developments. During 2017 we are focusing on what boards and third sector would find useful by way of guidance. We are using the NHSScotland Event (June 2017) as a sounding board and to raise awareness about this work. In September 2017 we will offer stakeholders the opportunity to help co-produce the guidance, at our conference: The Golden Thread: Volunteering in Health, September 2017).
The project is guided by a Reference Group chaired by Allan Johnstone, Acting CEO at Voluntary Action Scotland and comprising stakeholders from Scottish Government, NHS and third sector. The project also provides regular updates to all meetings of the Volunteering in NHSScotland National Group and liaises closely with the Scottish Health Council Volunteering in NHSScotland programme manager Alan Bigham.
To discuss Clear Pathway, contact Claire Stevens, VHS Chief Officer: Claire Stevens
The project is designed to achieve the following outcomes:
- Short term: NHS Boards, staff and third sector partners will be supported to engage, collaborate and exchange knowledge and learning about both benefits and risks of deploying third sector volunteers in NHS settings. NHS and third sector partners will be better able to work co-productively to manage risks.
- Medium term: NHS Boards and third sector partners will have access to guidance supporting them to introduce consistent measures to better enable volunteers to contribute to safe, effective and person centred care.
- Longer term: the effectiveness of the volunteer contribution to the delivery of health outcomes will be enhanced.
Clear Pathway is delivering the following activities:
- Facilitate engagement, supporting NHS and third sector participants to identify their current levels of engagement around volunteering, as well as gaps and opportunities for improving partnership working around volunteering.
- Conduct an electronic survey of third sector organisations to capture information about the nature and extent of third sector volunteering in NHS settings, including challenges, current practice and opportunities.
- Engage other stakeholders including local Third Sector Interfaces who may already working with their NHS board on volunteering matters
- Scope and draft guidance, taking cognisance of existing legislation and guidance.
Lesley Munro, Clear Pathway Project Manager: email@example.com or 0131 474 6154.
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