Medical school doctors qualify early to aid coronavirus crisis
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Wednesday, 8 April 2020
Fifth year medical students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) have already taken their final assessments and will soon join the workforce.
To boost the NHS frontline effort in the fight against COVID-19, it is expected newly qualified doctors will be able to offer support by May, having been provisionally registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).
To make this possible, for the first time an entire cohort were able to remotely take their final knowledge test.
This took place a week after sitting their Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), a practical assessment which involves students being observed in person while they assess and treat simulated patients in a clinical setting.
In total, 36 examiners at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton assessed the students’ OSCEs over a weekend in March, before the recent stringent measures on social distancing were introduced.
Professor Malcolm Reed, Dean of BSMS, said: “I am so thankful to all staff who helped ensure the OSCEs could take place, it was a tremendous effort. Bringing forward the assessments is no small task and it is a huge achievement.
“Our students are now able to join the NHS workforce in full confidence they are ready to do so”.
Professor Juliet Wright, Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning at BSMS, added: “This was a major achievement from the whole team at BSMS, as well as our students who adapted brilliantly to last minute changes so they could sit the knowledge test online. It is this sort of resilience and ability to react well under pressure that will ensure they are valuable assets to the NHS, particularly at a time when it needs more qualified people than ever before in the ongoing battle with COVID-19.”
The placement of the new provisionally registered doctors will be facilitated by BSMS, which is run jointly by the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, and other medical schools working with foundation schools and in support of service providers.
Deploying the doctors will take account of the need for induction, supervision and support for their wellbeing, and will be deployed in roles appropriate to their skill set that best supports delivery of frontline services.