World

Irish PM returns to medical practice

By AAP Newswire

Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a medical practitioner and will work one shift a week to help out during the coronavirus crisis, his office says.

Varadkar worked as a doctor for seven years before leaving the profession to become a politician and was removed from the medical register in 2013.

According to a report in the Irish Times, Varadkar re-registered in March as the crisis unfolded and intends to work in the country's Health Service Executive (HSE) on a weekly basis in an area suited to his qualifications.

In March, health minister Simon Harris launched a recruitment drive for the country's struggling health service to tackle the coronavirus outbreak with a stark message: "Your country needs you".

The HSE said it had spoken to thousands of healthcare professionals who may be eligible to return after it received more than 70,000 responses for its "Be on call for Ireland" initiative.

According to the Irish Times, Varadkar is helping out with phone assessments.

Anybody who may have been exposed to the virus is initially assessed over the phone.

Varadkar comes from a medical family. He is the son of a doctor and a nurse and, according to the Irish Times, his partner, two sisters and their husbands all work in healthcare.