Scottish medical students graduate early to join coronavirus fight

More than 100 medical students are set to graduate early so they can join the NHS battling the Coronavirus pandemic.

Brave medical students from the University of Dundee have opted to graduate early and register with the General Medical Council (GMC) so they can start doctor roles immediately.Final year students would usually have a ceremony in June but instead the process has been “accelerated” to help with the crisis.Fifth year students will eventually get to celebrate their achievements, but are “as ready as we’ll ever be to start work as doctors”, according to one graduate.Emma Box, 24, said: “Starting work as a doctor is always going to be daunting.

“For the many new graduates joining the NHS workforce the biggest difference is the uncertainty that has come with this.“It's easiest just to take it one day at a time and wait for the governing bodies to let us know if and when we can help.”The young medic, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, said: “I think it's important for everyone, my fellow medical students as well as the general public, to remember that we’re as ready as we’ll ever be to start work as doctors.“They’re not recruiting people who aren’t quite qualified, it’s just about speeding up the official processing to allow people who have completed their training to start work slightly sooner than usual.“This is what we’ve trained for, and we’re as ready as we can be.”And her colleague, Rachael Long, 24, described the situation as “surreal”.Ms Long, from Glasgow, added: “We’ve been invited to apply to start work early, but we don’t know how soon that’s going to happen, where exactly we’ll be asked to work or what’s going to be expected of us, but hopefully that all becomes clear soon.“It’s a daunting prospect that hasn’t really sunk in yet, but we’ve had five years of training to prepare so we should be in a good position to help when we’re needed.”Professor Rory McCrimmon, dean of the School of Medicine at Dundee, said, “The NHS is facing a crisis like we have never seen, and it requires as much help as we can muster.

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“To that end we have accelerated the graduation of our final-year students.“It is certainly an unusual graduation for them, and we will look to give them a full celebration of their achievements when such events can be arranged again.“But for the moment their help may be needed urgently and they are now in position to do that as qualified doctors.“I am confident they will make a real contribution to the NHS during this crisis.”Professor Maggie Bartlett, chair of Education in General Practice and head of the undergraduate division in the School of Medicine, said: “Our new graduates are ready to answer the call of the NHS.“We know it has been disappointing for them, as it is for all final-year students this year, that the normal graduation ceremony is not happening in June but these really are unprecedented times and require an urgent response.“We are very proud of our new doctors. They deserve our heartfelt congratulations on their graduation, and we are hopeful we will be able to organise a full celebration at some point down the line.”

Emma Box is one of more than 100 final-year medical students at the University of Dundee graduating early in order to start work with the NHS fighting Covid-19
Early graduation has allowed newly qualified doctors like Rachael Long to register with the General Medical Council in preparation for joining frontline medical teams during the coronavirus pandemic

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