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Using the voluntary sector in an integrated team

In the north of Buckinghamshire the voluntary sector plays a big part in reducing social isolation and supporting some of the more vulnerable members of the local community.

Working as part of the Patient Support Service, the volunteers provide a telephone befriending service to people who find it hard to leave their homes. This may be because of their own physical or mental health or because they have caring responsibilities for a housebound relative. The service is delivered by a group of trained volunteers who will contact people by telephone on a regular basis to have a chat and offer support.

The telephone support service does not replace the medical services a patient would get from their GP practice. However, working as part of the integrated team alongside mental health professionals, nursing staff, GPs and patient support workers it can provide much needed social contact for people and aims to reduce the contact these people may need with their GP.

"The 'befriending service' offers so much support with just a telephone call. I totally enjoy what I am doing and the tone of D’s voice and the laughter during our calls makes me certain of the benefit of the scheme. It works!"
Telephone support volunteer befriender

The telephone support service is commissioned by Buckinghamshire CCG and hosted by Norden House Practice in Winslow. It covers the nine GP practices across the patch. Set up just under two years ago it now has around 30 volunteer befrienders and 34 befriendees benefiting from regular social contact.