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Vice Chair of the Health Committee, Pam Cameron MLA has said she will ask further questions to establish why the recruitment of staff through the Department of Health workforce appeal was so low.

From figures obtained by the DUP MLA and her party colleagues Paul Givan and Alex Easton it was revealed that from over 11,000 applications there were 899 appointments. This included 515 clinical appointments from over 3,000 offers in those roles.

The South Antrim MLA said, "The Health Minister will be coming before the Health Committee next week and I want to explore further with him why the number of appointments has been lower than many people might have expected. I appreciate there will be factors such as the specific roles where the greatest need arose and other issues which will have limited recruitment, but the health service staff are our most valuable resource and it is vital that the maximum possible benefit is drawn from the workforce appeal.

If there is more which can be done by the Department of Health in this area then it is not too late. The vaccination programme is still in the relatively early stages and requires staff, but alongside that there is a need to build up the test, trace and protect programme. Tracing will remain vitally important until vaccination has reached a critical mass.

I do not underestimate the complexity of putting such a workforce appeal into practice. However, the public must be assured that everything that could be done to increase the staffing complement, particularly in our hospitals at this difficult time, has been done."