Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: More than 11,000 applied for health posts

An Emergency Department Nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and Covid-19 virus testing procedures set-up beside the Emergency Department of Antrim Area Hospital, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland Image copyright PA Media

More than 11,000 people applied to a recruitment drive which aimed to boost the health and social care workforce in NI during the coronavirus crisis.

Applications to the COVID-19 HSC Workforce Appeal are now closed to help "manage supply and demand", but can be "quickly re-opened again" if required.

The appeal, which opened on 27 March, was in response to the "enormous pressure" facing the health service.

The Department of Health said 468 people had been appointed.

The appeal which headlined with, "Northern Ireland needs you," got 18,719 expressions of interest from the public.

Of the 11,644 formal applications:

  • 3,209 were for clinical work and 8,435 were for support work
  • 468 individuals were appointed
  • A further 108 offers have been made.
  • A further 857 individuals are job ready awaiting deployment if required
  • A further 3,984 can be appointed if required, subject to final clearances

A Department of Health spokesman said the appeal has been a "success".

"The department is very grateful to all those who expressed an interest, submitted an application or took up a role in response to COVID-19," he said.

"The figures are a credit to Northern Ireland, and it has been heartening to see the willingness of so many people to help their fellow citizens at such a challenging time," he added.

On Saturday, one more Covid-19 related death was announced by the Department of Health, bringing its total to 505

The toll rises when death certificates that mention Covid-19 are included - statistics agency Nisra recorded 664 deaths by 15 May.

'More volunteers than roles'

Meanwhile, recruitment to a coronavirus volunteer scheme in Northern Ireland has also been paused because of "more volunteers than roles".

Some 4,000 people in NI registered an interest in the "Help Each Other" campaign which was launched for those who wanted to help with COVID-19 related opportunities.

Volunteer Now said that while recruitment for the coronavirus campaign is paused many opportunities still exist outside the campaign.

Image copyright Getty Images

When it was launched the NI Department for Communities said the scheme was a "co-ordinated response to the need for community support for those most vulnerable and isolated within our communities".

Volunteer Now said there had been "an immediate groundswell of support over a few days of launching the campaign".

They said they were currently tracking almost 200 people who are volunteering in Covid-19 activities.

Current roles which volunteers are involved in include:

  • Shopping and delivering food parcels
  • Collecting and delivering items from pharmacies
  • Providing telephone support services for those that need them
  • Voluntary driving
  • Helping to prepare food for delivery

"We are now encouraging organisations to think about the long-term sustainability of their organisations and how they can involve volunteers to ensure that they are able to maintain their services for the long term," a Volunteer Now spokeswoman said.

"They may not have covid-related roles now, but they will undoubtedly need help and support in the coming months as we work towards post-Covid activities and a new normal," she said.

"We are encouraging people to register and browse through the wide variety of volunteering opportunities."

Some people, who volunteered before the coronavirus lockdown, may have to continue to self shield, so new volunteers will still be needed as organisations start to reopen.

Last week, the executive published a five-phase blueprint for lifting restrictions.

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