Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Public support is still needed as pressure on the NHS grows

FOUR years on from the first lockdown, and the launch of the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, the charity reveals donations have supported over 600,000 patients and nearly one million healthcare staff across the UK. But the charity’s latest research, which was conducted in February 2024, shows that, despite the pandemic being over, 96% of healthcare staff feel pressure on NHS services is still growing.  

The urgent appeal – which launched on the day the nation went into lockdown on 23 March 2020 – has funded thousands of projects across the UK, supporting urgent needs, community prevention projects and the longer-term recovery of the NHS.  

Initial evaluation of the first phase of the appeal shows: 

  • Nearly one million NHS staff – that’s two-thirds of the workforce – have benefited from vital extra support including counselling and rest areas  
  • Approximately 600,000 patients have also been helped to access care or had support to reduce isolation
  • Nearly £7 million has been invested in training and equipment for thousands of life-saving community first responder volunteers
  • 4,241 individual projects funded through the first phase Urgent and Emergency Grants programme   
  • Over 350 community projects funded to tackle health inequalities and prevent ill health in the community  
  • Over 90% of projects from the first phase of the appeal have long-lasting impacts, continuing today     

Immense challenges for the NHS continue. A new YouGov survey of 1,078 NHS staff commissioned by NHS Charities Together reveals a staggering 96% of staff responding say they feel pressure is currently growing on NHS services and 95% feel the pressures on the NHS will continue for years even after the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly three quarters (74%) say the pressures feel as high as when Covid-19 cases were at their peak and 83% believe it will take many years for staff and volunteers to recover from the pandemic.   

The charity says that the challenges the NHS continues to face mean the extra support provided by NHS charities is more vital than ever. 

Public support is still needed as pressure on the NHS grows
Ellie Orton.

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said:

“We will never forget that unique moment in 2020 when the nation got behind the NHS when it faced one of its biggest challenges. Thank you to everyone who donated – your support has made a real and meaningful difference to NHS staff, patients and volunteers and is still having an impact today.  

“But our latest research shows that, far from being over, NHS staff feel the pressures are growing. Together with our network of 230 NHS charities, we help provide extra support for the NHS staff who keep our healthcare service running, and the patients and communities who depend on them, and this has never been more needed. That’s why our future strategy is focused on how, together, we can help create the healthcare services that everyone needs, now and in the future.” 

In total NHS Charities Together’s Covid Urgent Appeal raised £162 million with thousands of people in the UK getting behind the NHS to fundraise during lockdown, including through the charity’s ‘One Million Claps’ campaign. Thousands of people raised funds in their own unique ways, from walking and running to sky diving, dancing and baking. Among them were six-year-old Frank Mills and three-year-old Daisy Briggs, who both live with spina bifida and who went on to raise thousands for NHS Charities Together. There were also over 50 music singles and high-profile celebrities got involved too.   

To find out more about the work of NHS Charities Together, please visit:

To support their vital work, please visit: 


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