The NHS is facing some of its toughest times, yet with the public fiercely demanding protection for our national treasure. However, with continued trying times ahead, how can we find tangible solutions for the financial deficits that go beyond mere sticking plasters? 

In this era of change, there could be a potential solution... volunteers. Tapping into today's working generations' need to do something with purpose, are there ways we could be better harnessing their drive and skills that goes beyond doing 10km for the local infirmary? 

It seems there is. This week, Pro Bono Economics, a think tank that helps charities, introduced the idea of skilled professionals volunteering their time to the NHS. Think less Doreen directing patients to Ward 59*, and more Anna assisting in developing a new patient support programme.

The idea seems so logical, but it's not new. The Police force has been harnessing the skills of professionals in the form of Special Constables for some time now; the Territorial Army for even longer. 

Despite a drive for patient centricity, a disconnect between Pharma and the NHS remains. Could this be the solution to addressing these gaps? 

We often talk about partnerships and collaboration with the NHS, but naively this is often driven by our own agendas. A skilled-professional volunteer model, to which Pharma contributes staff hours, could provide a novel way to spark meaningful relationships by delivering against NHS needs through mutual areas of interest. But, above all, it provides an opportunity to really understand the needs of the HCPs and patients alike. 

*Doreen, you are still very much an instrumental part of the NHS, so please don't stop, you're doing a great job.

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash