IRELAND’S Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has rejoined the country’s medical register and will work one shift a week to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Varadkar was a doctor before becoming a politician. He studied medicine and worked as a junior doctor in Dublin hospitals for several years, having qualified as a general practitioner back in 2010. However, he left medicine to become a full-time politician, and later had his name removed from the medical registry.
“Dr Varadkar rejoined the Medical Register last month. He has offered his services to the HSE for one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice. Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way,” said the Taoiseach’s office in a statement.
According to the Irish Times, Varadkar will help to assess suspected Covid-19 patients over the phone. People who believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus are advised to call their doctors to receive an initial assessment rather than going in person in order to prevent the risk of infecting others.
Professionals from all healthcare professions have been asked to register in case the government needs additional staff to work during the pandemic. Retired healthcare providers as well as medical students have also been encouraged to sign up. Within three days of the HSE’s announcement, 50,000 former healthcare professional registered, including Ireland’s Prime Minister, signed up.
Most of Varadkar’s family work in healthcare. He is the son of a doctor and a nurse. His partner and his two sisters, as well as their husbands, also work for the health services.