UNDER PRESSURE: An Unexpected End To Medical School

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Cancelled exams. Cancelled electives. Cancelled placements. An indefinitely postponed graduation and a call to join the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.

This is the reality for final year medical students, facing one of the toughest decisions they are likely to make in their lifetime.

Following the recent announcement by Matt Hancock, the secretary of Health, the government announced that over 5000 final year medical students will be graduating early and joining the frontline to join healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. This was a decision that caught many by surprise, including the aforementioned final year medical students across the country.

Early Provisional Registration and Foundation Interim Year 1 (FiY1) posts

  • Final year medical students who have graduated from a UK medical school will be eligible to volunteer and take up Foundation Interim Year 1 doctor posts (including those on the primary list and reserve list for the 2020-21 UK Foundation Programme).

  • In order to be granted provisional GMC registration, doctors must be part of a Foundation Programme, i.e. be in a recognised Foundation Year 1 (F1) post, which can be a short-term post such as an FiY1 post.

  • Students must choose whether or not they wish to obtain early provisional registration and join the frontline. There is no obligation for students who have recently graduated to serve in the NHS immediately.

  • According to the BMA, these will be paid posts on a fixed term contract for 4-5 months before individuals would normally have joined the foundation programme.

  • Volunteers will have the choice to work in hospitals trust near to their medical school or at the trust they have been allocated to work in as part of the UK Foundation Programme. The local foundation school will be responsible for overseeing the training of interim F1s during this time.

  • Plans for final year medical students are dependent on the individual medical schools and local arrangements. This is dependent on whether medical schools have fully assessed the competencies for new doctors required by the GMC. The aim is for final year medical students to join the workforce as soon as practical.

  • Some medical schools are only letting final year medical students work as HCA’s for the time being


Sources: UKFPO, GMC, BMA. It is important to note that these new job posts may be subject to changes, so we encourage you to stay updated by regularly reviewing reliable sources.

 

Are Final Year Medical Students Ready?

The lack of clarity is resounding. We have spoken to final year medical students from various medical schools across the country; some who have just officially graduated having sat their exams only a few weeks ago and others who have had their final exams cancelled. Not quite the victorious end which many have dreamed of; nevertheless, life must go on. We asked what their questions and worries were with regards to the government announcement. The main questions were surrounding:

  • What is to be expected of them?

  • Will they have the appropriate supervision that they need?

  • Is there enough PPE to protect them from the disease?

  • Is their knowledge sufficient enough to step up to the task being asked of them?

  • How will they be viewed if they don’t step up?

  • What is in place to ensure a smooth transition from being a medical student to being a doctor?