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Number of volunteers to help battle coronavirus doubles in 48 hours


Health Minister Robin Swann

Health Minister Robin Swann

Health Minister Robin Swann

The number of people who have registered to join Northern Ireland's health and social care workforce has doubled to more than 8,000 within 48 hours.

This figure was welcomed by Health Minister Robin Swann who launched the campaign at the weekend with an appeal to the public, telling them: "Northern Ireland needs you."

Within 24 hours of the launch, a total of 4,031 people signed up to the HSC Workforce Appeal.

The number of registrations has now risen to 8,855 - with 1,422 of the total figure clinical staff, many of whom have come out of retirement to offer their expertise and support health workers in the fight against the coronavirus.

Plans are under way by the Department of Health 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.

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

Yesterday, Mr Swann welcomed the continuing positive response to the scheme.

"This is really great news. Thank you to each and every one of you," he said.

Across the UK, around 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work 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 impacted socially by the virus.

Roles include telephone befriending, undertaking light shopping, walking the dog, packing food hampers, along with many others.

Individuals and organisations - which require help from volunteers - can both avail of the service which is being run by Volunteer Now, the leading body for volunteering, explained Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey.

"My department is working closely with Volunteer Now to support a co-ordinated response to the need for community support for those most vulnerable and isolated within our communities, particularly at this time," she said. "Volunteering is vital to the fabric of our community and this has been demonstrated by the generosity of giving shown to date."

For further information, please visit www.volunteernow.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph