Coronavirus: Bristol medics will qualify early to help combat crisis

They should start work in hospitals by the end of April, uni says

The University of Bristol announced today that over 220 final year medical students will be qualifying early in order to assist with the NHS effort to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

They are likely to start work at the end of April.

Students will have a “virtual qualification ceremony” this coming Friday 3rd of April, attended by Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady, who is himself a Professor of Medicine.

Brady said: “I am incredibly proud of our final year medical students and look forward to taking part in Friday’s virtual qualification ceremony.”

According to Bristol Medical school, it is anticipated that most students will be working in hospitals local to Bristol, as well is in surrounding areas such as Bath, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Swindon, Taunton, Yeovil,  and Weston-Super-Mare.

The uni said that medics will: “predominantly be working on the wards in the hospitals clerking new patients, checking on admitted patients, assisting more senior doctors, ordering tests and checking results, prescribing drugs and undertaking procedures such as siting drips.”

The GMC website says that students will be able to work as Foundation Year One doctors before the start of August, and they are waiving the registration fee this year.

Bristol Medical School staff will “continue to provide close support” by  “providing practical and topical advice and information” in advance of them starting their careers amidst the current crisis, and will stay in contact with students, set up social media groups, and ensure they are supported.

They will also be “supervised and mentored by more experienced colleagues.”

Ben Turner, a Final Year Medic said: “After a minimum of five years of study, final year medical students possess fundamental skills to support our NHS colleagues at this time of national crisis.

“The cohort feels an overwhelming desire to help and graduating us early is vital to support hospitals already feeling the strain, allow the reallocation of more senior doctors to the front line and create capacity in the system as medical staff increasingly need to self-isolate.”

John Gilbert, another final year medical student, added: “Many of us have already demonstrated to the Medical School and the General Medical Council all of the necessary requirements to graduate as doctors. During this time of international crisis, a health crisis, we want to start work a few months early so that we can help our colleagues, help our NHS, and help our country to overcome Covid-19.”

Professor Ashley Blom, Head of Bristol Medical School, said: “We have worked with our NHS partners throughout the region to ensure that our newest cohort of young doctors will be both effective and safe in their roles in the NHS during these challenging times.

“The University of Bristol will continue to provide support and care for our new doctors. We are confident that they are ready for the challenges ahead and will make a strong contribution.”