7 ways to support the NHS – things you can do

Sign that says 'Thank you NHS' in blue window sill.

Here’s how you can support the NHS …

Illustration by Charlie Mackesy that says Happy Birthday NHS with a boy on a horse holding a 75 made from flowers, joined by a fox, and a mole holding a cake.

Illustration by Charlie Mackesy to celebrate the NHS’s 75th anniversary

The NHS is an essential part of all our lives. And it’s great to see how passionate the UK feels about protecting this beloved institution we’re so lucky to have. Particularly after the dedication and strength the staff demonstrated during the pandemic. As the service turns 75, let’s explore the many ways we can support the NHS this year.

1. Do you want to join the NHS team?

Joining the NHS as staff is one of the biggest things you can do to support it. Especially when there’s a staff shortage in many areas of the service, any new employee is a plus. With 1.3 million staff, the NHS is Europe’s biggest employer.

There are 350 careers available, so there is a job for you if you want to make a difference. But don’t fret – it doesn’t have to be a clinical role. The NHS employs electricians, administration, porters, accountants, and caterers. Take a look at more information here.

You can work for the NHS whatever your work or educational background is. And there are options to make the career move from another sector (it isn’t only open to the young, fresh graduates). The NHS has a wide range of employers, such as hospitals, emergency services, GP practices, and opticians, as well as monitoring services like NHS England.

Alternatively, there are roles in social care and public health to support people and protect their health. Learn more about careers in the NHS here.

Read more: Beat the ageism game. How to create a great CV when you’re over 50

2. Are you bloody brilliant?

Thanks to their kindness, blood donors save thousands of lives every day. But there is still an urgent need for more supplies. The NHS requires 5000 blood donations every day and 135,000 new donors every year.

Although it may seem disconcerting to some, there is always a member of staff by your side to make sure you’re all right. And, there’s usually a cheeky bicky and squash after, to up your sugars.

Most people aged between 17 and 65 can give blood. However, the NHS specifically needs 40,000 more Black donors to support the growing demand and treat sickle cell disease. If you feel like you can help and support the NHS as it turns 75, click here for more information.

Flo, a freelance hairdresser, providing wash and clean services to elderly patient.

Winner of the ‘Our Partners’ category for the NHS staff & volunteers FUJIFILM competition. Photo: Mary McConnell & Jenny Brodie

3. Could you volunteer locally?

NHS and CARE Volunteer Responders allow you to support the NHS, its patients, and people through social care. A dedicated app makes this work flexible – roles are advertised here if you are interested.

Other volunteer roles include companionship for patients, being a first responder, fundraising, and supporting charities. Or you could even become a hospital radio DJ! There are more details here.

4. Are you on the NHS Organ Donor Register?

If you decide to donate your organs after you die, you will save or transform the life of up to nine lives, and more by donating tissue.

You can register your decision here. But remember, it is always a good idea to discuss this with your loved ones so that they are in the know.

Ambulance driving through snow covered trees.

Winner of the ‘Our Environment’ category for the NHS staff & volunteers FUJIFILM competition. Photo: Joe Cartwright

5. What is the NHS1000 miles challenge?

To mark the 75th birthday of the NHS, you can join the NHS1000-mile challenge and commit to walking, running, swimming, or cycling 1000 miles this year. That may sound impossible, but on average it’s only 2.74 miles per day – so let’s get those steps in.

Participants are encouraged to keep a record of their weekly miles and share their progress via Twitter every Sunday night using the hashtag #NHS1000miles.

Let’s not forget – physical activity is great for our physical and mental health. We should all aim to be active every day to improve our sleep, clear our minds, and boost our energy.

It’s free to take part in, but there is the option to get sponsored. You can set up a Just Giving page here and this spreadsheet will allow you to track your miles. To get started, try the NHS Couch to 5K or attend your local park run. Good luck!

6. Do you want to transform the health of the nation?

The health revolution that has taken place over the last 75 years would not be possible without the 230+ NHS charities located in the UK.

By volunteering and donating to NHS charities, you can support research, renovation, technologies, and the staff, who help the NHS transform the health and wellbeing of the nation. If you are interested in offering your support, learn more about it here.

7. Did you know you can get involved in research?

Research is the foundation of the NHS. And further research will play an important part in shaping the future of the NHS by discovering life-saving treatments, uncovering the secrets behind diseases, and developing the answers to the problems causing ill health today.

It is super easy for us all to get involved and help design research studies and advise what the priorities for the future should be. Get in touch here with questions you want the NHS to find the answers for, find research applications up for review, and decide what research gets funded.

To support the NHS as it turns 75, take part in a study, pop over to your GP and ask for information on trials or studies in your area. Or click here to sign up for alerts.

Red heart with NHS in rainbow colours - pavement art.

Photo: Nicolas Leclerq

From everyone at Silver, happy birthday NHS and thank you for everything you do. Here’s to many more years of revolutionary healthcare and outstanding kindness.

Click here for more NHS birthday events and news.

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About Beth Pratt
Beth is one of Silver’s interns. She loves reading and studying literature. Entering her final year of university, Beth still finds time to dance, swim, and have a pint with friends. Her favourite hobby is going to coffee shops, if you can call it a hobby!

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