Health, Latest News | Posted: Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 at 1:29 pm | return to news

Student doctors and nurses join ‘NHS Army’

Nearly 15,000 student nurses, midwives and medical students are poised to join frontline NHS teams as part of the nationwide coronavirus fightback.

More than 12,000 second and final year nursing and midwifery students and 2,213 medical students have so far enrolled to provide care and support, with the first of these now beginning to take up roles on the front line.

The influx of students boosting the workforce follows a plea from senior nurses for medics-in-training to join the growing ranks of staff helping the public to stay well.

The newcomers to the profession will join more than 15,000 retired medics who recently left the health and care service but are returning to the fold, and volunteer members of the public who are doing tasks like delivering medicines and driving patients to and from hospitals.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said, “Across the country nearly 15,000 student nurses and midwives and medical students are stepping up to serve in the fight against coronavirus.

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“They will work alongside our brilliant current staff and the thousands of dedicated former colleagues who have answered the call to come out of retirement.

“These students are beginning their careers as the NHS faces the greatest global health challenge in the history of the health service.

“Their commitment to the NHS and all it stands for is a great as that of any previous generation, and the whole country will be both grateful and proud.”

Other second and third year university students in healthcare subjects – including dieticians, physiotherapists and radiographers – are also being called to serve on the front line.

Students will work in hospitals and other healthcare settings across England, matching their skills to meet staff needs in their local area. The plans also mean that students in their final year will be able to graduate at the end of the academic year as normal, ensuring more qualified professionals are available in future.

First-year nursing, midwifery and medical students will continue with their studies, but will focus on academic work if clinical placements need to be paused to prioritise managing immediate care needs.

Latest figures show that 12,083 nursing and midwifery students and 2,213 medical students have enrolled early.

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