Written answers

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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115. To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the recruitment process by the HSE for community swabbers; the number of redeployed HSE staff that have been able to return to their jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33565/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The recruitment campaign for the role of community swabber ran during September, closing on the 21st September. The campaign received great interest from the public. The high number of applicants is a further testament to the community spirit and willingness to help in any way possible by members of the public to the ongoing response to the pandemic.

The Health Service Executive received 3,451 applications to the role of community swabber. To date, 1,661 people have been successful at interview, with interviews still ongoing. Thus far, 191 people have been appointed to positions. A further 69 people are due to start this week. Groups of successful applicants are being deployed each week. The campaign aims to appoint approximately 800 community swabbers.

In order to respond to the pandemic, it was necessary to utilise existing staff through redeployment, especially in the area of testing and tracing. By mid-September, I am pleased to say that 55% of redeployed staff from Community Healthcare Organisations had already returned to their posts. My Department and I await up to date numbers of those redeployed and those that have returned to their posts. With the high level of recruitment into the testing and tracing services, more redeployed staff will be able to return to their posts in the coming weeks. COVID-19 has had profound impacts on the health services, and both services and staff had to adapt. As we continue to resume services, my Department and I continue to work with the Health Service Executive to ensure they have the resources to ensure a safe and reliable health service.


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