Final-year medical students across the UK are joining the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic after being graduated early by their universities.
The scale of the crisis and the pressure it is heaping on the already overstretched NHS has prompted many medical schools to expedite graduation, in some cases cancelling exams.
Although the new graduates will not be able to perform the clinical duties of a doctor, they will be able to help in hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
They cannot undertake a doctor’s duties until they are registered by the General Medical Council. Registration is usually not completed until August and the GMC says it has no plans to move it forward, although it might face pressure to fast-track its procedures.
Julia Simons, the medical students lead for the Doctors’ Association UK, said students were eager to help out but there was a lack of clarity about what they could do, with no consistent guidance across the board.
“We hope medical students will be able to volunteer as soon as possible,” she said. “The sooner we are integrated into clinical settings the better prepared we will be for when the epidemic peaks. We will need supervision and support and worry that if we are only asked to volunteer when the crisis reaches its worst point doctors will, for very good reason, not have the time needed to support us entering the workforce.”
Excerpt form The Guardian