Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a medical practitioner and will work one shift a week to help out during the coronavirus crisis.

Mr 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.

He rejoined the medical register in March, and offered his services to the HSE for one session a week, in areas that are within his scope of practice, a spokesperson for his office confirmed.

"Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way," the spokesperson added.

It's understood Mr Varadkar will carry out phone assessments to free up staff for frontline work.

The Taoiseach comes from a medical family. He is the son of a doctor and a nurse, while his partner also works as a doctor.

Last month, Health Minister Simon Harris launched a recruitment drive for the HSE as it prepared to tackle the coronavirus outbreak with a stark message: "Your country needs you."

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