University of Buckingham steps forward to help fight against Covid-19

17 April 2020

Medical students from the University of Buckingham have stepped forward to provide additional help in local hospitals and GP surgeries to assist with battling the coronavirus pandemic. Around 40 medical students are supporting the healthcare establishments in a variety of ways, from admin support to working as Healthcare Assistants, in three major local hospitals; Milton Keynes University Hospital, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, as well as six local GP surgeries.

Third, fourth and fifth year medical students are mostly volunteering in Healthcare Assistant (HCA) roles within the hospitals and utilising the skills they have developed to undertake some of the routine ward-based tasks relieving the pressure on the medical staff and allowing them to see more patients. First and second year students are predominantly based in GP surgeries and are carrying out routine administrative tasks filling in for staff roles that have been vacated due to illness, self-isolation or high risk concerns.

Maryam, a volunteering medical student commented, “It’s great that we can contribute in some way and help the healthcare professionals who are already very busy with looking after patients.”

The University also saw 55 final year medical students graduate on 9 April, some of whom are taking up early registration in order to further help the NHS. The rest will take up their Foundation Year 1 posts in hospitals on the 1st August. The graduation ceremony has been postponed until the government restrictions are lifted.

Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham and practising GP, Professor Joanne Harris comments, ‘We are incredibly proud of our students for volunteering their time and skills. They have spent time in the clinical placements in a learning role and it’s great to see them using those experiences to help others at such a crucial period. We wish to support the NHS as much as we can in the fight against Covid-19.’

The University of Buckingham’s Emergency Medicine society are further supporting the efforts by fundraising online for ‘NHS Charities Together’. Donations are going towards aiding workers and volunteers in a number of ways such as, creating well-being packs and gifts for NHS staff or helping to cover the costs of travel, parking and accommodation for staff and volunteers. To date £384.00 has been raised.

Following the call for help from medical practitioners for more Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), the University is liaising with the NHS and is using its 3D printing facilities from the Vinson Centre for Economics and Entrepreneurship to print face-shields for medical staff and key-workers. The equipment is fully sterilised during the assembly process which is undertaken by the Buckingham Enterprise and Innovation Unit Team. The Enterprise and Innovation Unit in the Vinson Centre is also assisting the medical sector in sourcing technical expertise from local businesses.