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Volunteers (Hospitals And Community Care)

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 19 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many extra staff he estimates would be needed to replace the work done by volunteers in (a) hospitals and (b) community care of children, the elderly and the handicapped.

Much of the work done by volunteers is complementary to and could not be replaced by that of paid staff. However, a survey done in 1976 for the Wolfenden committee on the future of voluntary organisations suggests that—as an approximate estimate—the total time spent each year by volunteers in the personal social services field would be the equivalent of about 250,000 full-time workers. I am not aware of a similar survey of the total time worked by volunteers in hospitals.