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Independents' Day

Over 5,000 medical students will join NHS coronavirus effort 'next week'

The NHS coronavirus frontline will be boosted with 5,500 medical students from next week, the health secretary has said.

This is part of a significant drive to bolster the workforce, also including the return of retired doctors and doctors who had left clinical roles.

Leading the Government's daily coronavirus briefing yesterday, Matt Hancock said: ‘From next week, 5,500 final-year medics and 18,700 final-year student nurses will move to the frontline to make sure we have the people we need in our NHS to respond to this crisis. 

‘In total, that’s over 35,000 more staff coming to the NHS when the country needs the NHS most.’

But BMA medical students committee co-chairs Gurdas Singh and Chris Smith urged some caution.

They said in a statement: ‘Medical students who choose to be provisionally registered and become junior doctors at this unprecedented time for the NHS must be guaranteed comprehensive induction and supervision, particularly in the difficult circumstances under which they are joining.

‘It’s also essential that these doctors are not expected to work beyond their capabilities, and that patient safety remains a top priority.'

Health Education England stated: ‘The GMC will provisionally register any final year medical student who applies’.

NHS England is also setting up 'an army' of volunteers in response to the coronavirus crisis, who will be called upon to help the vulnerable.

After the call was issued, NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said 170,000 people signed up to volunteer already last night.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Where's Optimus?

    Unless they have full PPE / FFP3 Masks Goggles
    This is so irresponsible
    lambs to slaughter
    if you are lucky it will be mild
    and you'll be immune
    but if you are unlucky it could be fatal

    I appreciate the bravado
    but it takes several weeks of the shock of your first housejobs for you to really get a clue what you are doing
    and often you shaddow a good SHO

    There is a risk you'll just get in the way
    and put yourself at risk

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  • what are you actually expecting them be able to do?

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  • Where's Optimus?

    Without medical indemnity you could just be glorified health care assistants. helping to monitor obs etc

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  • Where's Optimus?

    At worst this increases the risk of carriage and spread

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  • Where's Optimus?

    Is this plugging the gap from regular staff taking sick leave and self isolating ?

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  • Be careful NHS. They are not ready for a crisis system. It will be like those days of working in a DGH with no reg/consultant and having to guess the diagnosis. I suggest use them for bloods, cannulas, gases, and taking a history from non covid cases.

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  • i wonder whether the college will step up and enrol over 500 fully trained GP registrars who missed out on being fully qualified by 1 mark or 2 on their CSA exams?
    now that exams are not important!

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