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If you're aged 18 or over, and fit and well with no underlying health conditions, could you offer some of your spare time to help at Nightingale Hospital Birmingham?

We've compiled some frequently asked questions about volunteering.

If your question isn't answered here, or if you'd like to apply, please email the Voluntary Services team at University Hospitals Birmingham.

What is the role of a volunteer?

The role of the volunteer is to provide non-clinical support to patients, staff and service delivery at Nightingale Hospital Birmingham.

Example volunteer roles

The volunteer roles at Nightingale Hospital Birmingham include "Bedside Buddy" and "Concourse Volunteer".

How do I apply?

If you would like to get involved, please email our Voluntary Services team and ask for a volunteer application pack.

Will I be asked to help treat patients?

No, our volunteers are there to support patients and staff, and you will not be asked to be involved in the clinical care of any patient. Even if you have the skills, you will not be able to use them as a volunteer.

I am a practicing clinician. Can I volunteer?

Volunteers are not permitted to undertake any clinical work. If you are a clinician and would like to help out professionally you can see details of coronavirus jobs on the University Hospitals Birmingham website.

If you would like to help out as a volunteer you would be welcome, but won’t be able to do any clinical work.

I am a non-clinical member of staff. Can I volunteer on my days off?

Yes, but you still need to register.

What will I be paid as a volunteer?

While we appreciate the work our volunteers do to support our patients and our NHS staff, the volunteer roles are unpaid positions.

Is this a permanent role? 

No. Individuals will be required on a temporary basis while Nightingale Hospital Birmingham is open. 

Health providers have always had a need for a volunteer service and this will continue after the pandemic has passed. However, this may be at another site and you may be asked to commit to a specific day of the week.

If you would like to continue volunteering, please speak to the Voluntary Services team.

Will volunteering lead to paid employment?

No. The recruitment processes at the NHS organisations are separate to the volunteer service recruitment processes. To apply for a paid employment role within the NHS, please visit the NHS Jobs website.

What are the hours?

The hours depend on each volunteer role.

Bedside buddies are required between 11:00 and 20:00 each day. This may be covered with two short shifts or one longer shift.

Concourse volunteers are required between 09:00 and 18:00 each day.

Is there a set start time?

There will be shift patterns that we will ask volunteers to sign up for. However, there is some flexibility. 

Would volunteering be for a fixed day, or days, every week?

It doesn’t need to be a fixed day but it could be. There will be opportunities for both regular and ad hoc volunteering, depending on the individual volunteer’s choice. Volunteers will be asked what their availability is and we will try to match that with the current requirements. 

How often do I have to volunteer?

You can volunteer as much or as little as you want. Please discuss how much time you can volunteer with the Voluntary Services team.

I have never worked in healthcare. Will there be training for the role?

Healthcare experience is not required. All training required will be delivered before you start volunteering. Details of this will be included in your induction.

Do I need any qualifications?

No. You will be provided with an induction package and relevant training to undertake the role. This will be tailored, based on your previous and current experience.

It is mandatory that we validate your identity and undertake some clearances before you can start.

Will I have a DBS check?

Yes, you will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, and children's and adults' barred lists check.

I've already had a DBS check – can I use this?

No, we do our own DBS check for all our volunteers.

Can I apply to volunteer if I have been furloughed by my organisation?

Yes you can.

  • You should check with your employer if they require you to inform them of any intention to volunteer while on furlough pay
  • We advise that you check with your employer what they require from you in relation to undertaking voluntary work while you're receiving furlough pay

Will I be at risk from COVID-19?

Everyone is currently at risk of catching COVID-19, and Nightingale Hospital Birmingham will be caring for patients who have tested positive for the virus. The nature of COVID-19 and the environment that the staff will be working in obviously does put individuals at a higher risk. However, the volunteer roles have been risk-assessed and deemed to be low-risk as long as infection control guidance is followed. Our volunteers will work under the supervision and guidance of qualified clinicians.

Strict health and safety and infection protection measures will be in place, in line with NHS standards. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided for all staff and volunteers, depending on their role.

Social distancing (standing at least two metres apart) is in place where possible and this is a very good way of reducing your risk. Washing your hands between tasks is also incredibly effective and important. 

COVID-19 can make anyone seriously ill. While many people experience mild symptoms, some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell.

Individuals considering this role are asked to carefully consider the nature of the environment before applying to volunteer.

Are there restrictions on who can apply?

The Government has provided national guidelines for those who are at a higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19. The Government advice is that those that fall into the "high-risk" or "very high-risk" categories need to take extra steps to avoid COVID-19.

We will not be accepting applications from people who fall into these groups.

If you're pregnant, we suggest you read the latest guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

What should I do if I get symptoms of COVID-19 while I'm a volunteer?

You must follow the national guidelines and self-isolate for 7 days. If a member of your household has symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days, and if you then develop symptoms you must self-isolate for 7 days from when the symptoms start. You must have been symptom-free for 2 days before you return to volunteering.

What should I wear?

Volunteers will be provided with scrubs to wear while they're on shift. There are male and female changing rooms on site, and lockers are available.

Personal protective equipment, if required, will be provided and you will collect this and put it on at the entrance to each ward.

What should I bring with me?

Please bring as little as possible. Scrubs are available for you to wear and meals will be provided.

There are male and female changing rooms on site, and lockers are available. However, the lockers are small so please bring only essential items with you and leave all valuables at home.

Do I need to bring food with me?

No – meals will be provided.

Free hot and cold food is available on site at the staff restaurant. Please do not take food outside the staff restaurant. There are also vending machines in the atrium areas.

There is also a pop-up Tesco shop on-site for you to buy any essentials.

How can I get to Nightingale Hospital Birmingham, and where can I park?

The hospital is located at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). 

Public transport

There is free public transport for NHS workers and volunteers. Please see the West Midlands Network website for details.


You will be advised about parking at your induction. Parking is free but you will need to display a vehicle ID disk, which will be supplied as part of your induction.

Further information

Further information on how to get here is available on the NEC website.

Is any accommodation provided?

Some NHS staff and volunteers working at Nightingale Hospital Birmingham may require accommodation near the NEC. To apply for free accommodation, you will need to inform the Voluntary Services team ahead of your induction to see whether an application would be supported.

Staff and volunteers do not have to stay in hotel accommodation and can stay in their own home.