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16,000 enlist in response to coronavirus appeal to assist NHS in Northern Ireland


Thanks: Robin Swann

Thanks: Robin Swann

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Thanks: Robin Swann

Nearly 16,000 people have signed up to the health service workforce appeal, Robin Swann has revealed.

The Health Minister disclosed the latest figure yesterday at the daily Executive press briefing on the coronavirus crisis.

The workforce appeal has now reached 15,895 registrations, with just over 9,037 of the overall total being formal applicants.

Mr Swann thanked the public for the ongoing positive response to the appeal.

"I never doubted the people of Northern Ireland would rise to the many challenges that we are facing," he said.

The scheme was announced by the Department of Health over a week ago, with Mr Swann telling the public: "Northern Ireland needs you."

At least 1,500 of the total registrations have been made by clinical staff, while 5,300 are support staff such as hospital porters and drivers.

The Health Minister also praised people here for adhering to the social distancing measures.

"Individuals, families and communities are rising to the challenge created by social distancing. I want to thank them publicly," he added.

The Department of Health plans to invite second-year nursing, midwifery and allied health professions, including physiotherapy, radiography and occupational therapy, to further support care delivery as part of the scheme.

More non-clinical workers are also needed for paid employment, including as porters, catering staff, cleaning and domestic services workers.

Across the UK, around 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to the workplace in a bid to support workers in ensuring the health service is not overwhelmed during the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Department for Communities is supporting the Volunteer Now scheme, #HelpEachOther in an effort to support those affected socially by the virus.

So far, over 1,000 people have signed up to the campaign which helps individuals and organisations receive help from the service which is being run by Volunteer Now, the main body for volunteering.

Belfast Telegraph