The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a doctor with the country’s health service and will work one shift a week to assist during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Varadkar was a practising doctor for seven years, working as a junior doctor in St James’s Hospital and Connolly Hospital in Dublin before becoming a politician.
There have been just under 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland, with 158 of those diagnosed with the disease subsequently dying.
Following the outbreak in Ireland the taoiseach rejoined the medical register, which he was removed from in 2013.
Mr Varadkar offered his services to Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) for “one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice”, according to his office.
“Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way,” the spokesman added.
It follows Ireland’s health minister Simon Harris launching a recruitment drive for the country’s health service, which like many others is struggling to handle the outbreak.
The HSE said it had spoken to thousands of healthcare professionals who may be eligible to return to work after it received more than 70,000 responses to the drive.
Mr Varadkar will assist by providing phone assessments, the first way that HSE speaks to potential patients who may have been exposed to the virus.
He comes from a medical family, the Irish Times reported, as the son of a doctor and a nurse, with his partner, two sisters and their husbands all also working in healthcare.