New graduates join NHS fight against Covid-19

Edinburgh’s final-year medical students are to support the frontline fight against Covid-19 by graduating from the University early.

Some 200 newly qualified Edinburgh graduates will have the opportunity to join the NHS workforce sooner than they would have anticipated, as part of the UK’s response to the virus.

The scale of the crisis – and the pressure it is placing on the NHS – prompted many medical schools, including Edinburgh, to speed up the graduation process.

Speedier process

An accelerated registration process is enabling the new graduates to join the NHS early as Foundation Year doctors, if they choose. 

This postgraduate programme is a bridge between medical school and specialist or general practice training.

Staff support

The new system will operate on a voluntary basis. Induction and training will be provided, along with the necessary personal protection equipment.

New staff will be appropriately supervised and will not be asked to work beyond their competence. The medical school with continue to provide support and mentoring.

New starts, who will be paid, will be deployed in a variety of ways across the NHS. 

It is a source of great pride to the University of Edinburgh that our excellent and committed group of final year medical students will be graduating earlier than expected. Many of them will be joining the NHS sooner than they might have anticipated and volunteering their services to society during these challenging times.

Professor Moira WhyteHead of the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, the University of Edinburgh

Joint approach

Employers are liaising with medical schools and other UK training bodies to ensure individuals are given appropriate tasks. 

The General Medical Council is working with the relevant statutory education bodies to provisionally register any final year medical student who applies.

The Medical Schools Council is in touch with all UK medical schools to help speed the process. 

We have been working on plans for the past week to enable our students to help support the NHS. Many students have already expressed a desire to help. They are keen to do what they studied and trained six years for. I know my clinical colleagues will welcome their help and we will ensure they have all the support they need over the coming weeks. We are lucky to have such talented doctors who can step up in this way."

Professor David KluthDirector of Undergraduate Medical Teaching, the University of Edinburgh

Related links

College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

General Medical Council

Medical Schools Council