Liverpool medical students volunteer on COVID-19 frontline

More than 230 final-year medical students at the University of Liverpool have volunteered to help the NHS tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the current unprecedented demand on the NHS, students who are just a few months away from becoming qualified doctors will use their skills to support patient care during the growing COVID-19 pandemic at local hospital trusts they already know.

Professor Hazel Scott, Dean of the Liverpool School of Medicine, said: “This is a great time of challenge for the NHS, involving unprecedented circumstances that demand a very different response to normal.

“In the summer, our final-year students will become the new cohort of qualified junior doctors. I can think of no better preparation for this than their support of the NHS at a time of great need. It will be excellent training for their future careers.”

The students, who have already completed their final assessments, will carry out a range of clinical duties that are within the clinical competencies they have already acquired. They will not be asked to do the legal or final decision making duties of a doctor that would require General Medical Council registration. They will be supervised and supported by the experienced colleagues they already know well.

Dr Rob Jones, Clinical Sub-Dean for Aintree University Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The students only have 2-3 months of their training to complete. They’re highly-skilled, highly-competent young individuals and I have a great amount of faith in them. Having them on hand will help busy doctors cope with the extra demand.”

The BBC spoke to some of the students who have signed up to volunteer and asked them how they felt.

Chloe Queenan said: “Obviously things are going to be tough over the next few months with more people requiring hospital care, but by having these extra student volunteers on the wards helping support the staff I really do think this will enable the best possible patient care.”

Priya Bijut said: “If we’re not volunteering to work at the moment then we’ll just be sat at home doing nothing. So, it’s better that we’re out there working, getting the experience we need and helping the NHS at this moment in time.”

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Image: Final-year medical students Priya Biju, Percy Wade, Hamish Baxter and Chloe Queenan are among more than 230 Liverpool volunteers.