Health Minister Robin Swann says the drive to boost the number of health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic is receiving a “really positive response”.

In the first 24 hours, a total of 4,031 people have registered an interest in playing a part.

“This is a really encouraging and positive response and I know the numbers will grow further,” said Mr Swann.

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has registered their interest and also express my gratitude to those involved in this campaign.

"It will make a huge difference.

“It is truly heartening to see so many people across Northern Ireland backing the fightback against Covid-19 in so many different ways.”

The minister said the HSC Workforce Appeal is one of a number of initiatives being used in response to the pandemic.

Final year nursing, midwifery, medical and social work students are being deployed ahead of schedule.

The department said there are plans to invite 2nd year nursing, midwifery and AHP (including physio, radiography, occupational therapy) to further support care delivery.

The appeal is also seeking non-clinical workers to fill a range of vacancies with paid employment including porters, catering staff, cleaning and domestic services staff, laundry staff, ICT professionals, finance and payroll, call handlers, drivers, electricians, plumbers, joiners, warehousing, maintenance staff and more.

“Our message to people across all the staff groups is simple and urgent – Northern Ireland needs you,” Mr Swann added.