Coronavirus: 50,000 people register within three days to On Call for Ireland campaign

HSE to begin interviewing 6,000 applicants a week, starting next week

HSE CEO Paul Reid said the organisation had been overwhelmed in recent days by those willing to help. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell for the Irish Times

HSE CEO Paul Reid said the organisation had been overwhelmed in recent days by those willing to help. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell for the Irish Times

 

Some 50,000 people in less than three days have contacted the HSE about taking up posts in the health service to deal with the expected surge in demand for care arising from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government said on Tuesday it would recruit everyone available with qualifications for roles in the health service during the current crisis.

Paul Reid, HSE chief executive, said the executive had been overwhelmed in recent days by those willing to help and support from right across business, communities, social care groups and individuals.

In the On Call for Ireland appeal, 50,000 people had registered their interest in three days. “We will be calling those ... interviewing about 6,000 per week starting from next week,” he said.

In relation to fighting the spread of Covid-19, he said this a war. “A war makes people anxious and uncertain but it is a war. It’s a war against a very silent and dangerous enemy which is the virus but this war won’t be won with armies or guns. It will be won by the communities.

“What we do right now in terms of galvanising the communities will make a really big difference,” he told Friday night’s Late Late Show.

He said the total number of beds in the public health system before the pandemic was just over 10,000. “We are ramping up to match that with another 10,000 across the whole system,” he said.

But he stressed the vast majority would not need to be treated in hospital.

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