Covid Scotland: Almost 12,000 medical students to be used across NHS in pandemic fight

About 12,000 students will be deployed across Scotland’s health service to help fight Covid-19, the Scottish Government has said.

With 3,000 nursing and midwifery students being sent on placement this month, a further 7,000 students will placed throughout next month.

A further 1,500 allied health professional students and 500 paramedic students will also be deployed next month.

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Owen Morrison, 15, receives his Covid-19 vaccine from student nurse Anthony McLaughlin during a vaccination clinic at the Glasgow Central Mosque. Picture: PA

Placements in active healthcare settings form part of a number of university courses.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf “wholeheartedly” thanked the students who would be supporting healthcare.

“As part of their professional programme of education, and throughout the pandemic, these students have worked tirelessly to support our NHS, making an invaluable contribution to the delivery of care as part of their supervised practice in health and social care environments,” he said.

“As we go into a third year facing up to the challenges of Covid, we are fortunate to combine good quality learning attained by students as part of their supervised practice with the positive impact these students have on the delivery of safe, effective patient care and their ongoing support of our NHS.

“And I wholeheartedly thank them for their hard work during this difficult time.”

Natalie Elliot, a nursing student at Glasgow Caledonian University, was among the first to be sent on placement during the pandemic in April 2020.

“I learned so much,” she said.

"The experience has helped boost my confidence and improved my performance.

“It was a real privilege to be part of the pandemic response and to feel that you’ve made that little bit of a difference. There was a sense of camaraderie on the wards and I really felt part of the team.”

Ms Elliot said the experience helped her to improve how she looks after herself and how to “be more resilient when I feel overwhelmed”.

Steve Walls, a senior charge nurse at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, praised the students who had been brought in to support the pandemic response.

“For me it has been fantastic to see how they have developed while providing an extra pair of hands, eyes and ears to make sure our patients are safely cared for as we respond to the pandemic,” he said.

“They also bring with them an enthusiasm that can lift the mood of a shift.”

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