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'Be On Call For Ireland' backlog must be cleared to maximise healthcare staffing levels - Darren O'Rourke TD

16 April, 2020 - by Darren O Rourke TD

Sinn Féin TD for Meath East Darren O'Rourke has said more must be done to help process the 'Be On Call for Ireland' applications after it emerged less than two per cent of applications have been processed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Teachta O'Rourke has said that the current backlog should be cleared as quickly as possible as a matter of urgency to help relieve the pressure faced by our hospitals and frontline workers and to allow medical staff to do the work they signed up to.

Deputy O'Rourke said;

"This initiative is one with great merit and has tapped into the national mood to stand up and play our part for those in need. The response so far has been fantastic, with 73,000 applications to date. 

"However, of the 14,000 candidates deemed satisfactory – that’s 14,000 qualified and registered nurses, doctors fit to work in medical laboratories, ambulance staff and healthcare assistants who are available to work immediately - just 1,300 are in the process of being made available for a role or have started a role.

"I am one of the 73,000 applicants. I signed up on 17th March. I am one of the 14,000 - I’m a qualified Medical Scientist - but I’m not one of the 1,300 yet deployed to work.

"With just two holding emails in a month from Be On Call for Ireland, I made my own arrangements through the Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine and am on standby to return to the laboratory bench in the case of a surge. I am readily prepared to do that.

"This massive backlog raises many questions. We’re in the midst of unprecedented global health crisis, why isn’t more being done to maximise the level of staffing from the Be On Call for Ireland initiative?

"What is the Government doing to ensure applications are being processed more quickly and that 'job ready' applicants are being put to work in the areas of greatest need, as soon as humanly possible?

"Minister Harris needs to make clear what additional supports will be made available to this scheme to clear up the processing of applications.

"At a time when our health service is facing extreme pressure we need to do everything possible to support our frontline workers."

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