Coronavirus: advice for medical students and foundation doctors

Advice for students who wish to volunteer and FY1 doctors on registration.

A joint statement by the UK Health Departments, the General Medical Council, the Medical Schools Council and others explains there will be early provisional registration of final year medical students, once they have graduated and early full registration of suitable foundation year 1 (FY1) doctors.

Key principles in deploying medical students and FY1 doctors are that:

  • it will be for these graduates and doctors to decide if they wish to contribute in this way and opt in
  • the safety of these doctors will be paramount. They should be given induction, provided with full necessary personal protection equipment and the training to use it, appropriately supervised, and not asked to work beyond their competence
  • employers working with medical schools and statutory education bodies will determine how these individuals can best be deployed to support front line colleagues.

If you wish to work as an FY1 doctor, it's essential you have appropriate GMC registration. MDU student membership includes advice and assistance with any medico-legal matters that arise and you do not need to let us know you are doing this work.

Students who wish to volunteer

The Medical Schools Council (MSC) has set out their expectations on volunteering for employers, medical schools and students.

The GMC explains that, student volunteers 'must be supervised to be safe and act within your competence. You must not be asked to carry out any duties of a doctor.'

Medical student members who choose to volunteer, for example as healthcare assistants do not need to let our membership team know they are doing so. You can also seek our assistance if medico-legal difficulties arise as a result of undertaking this role.

Medico-legal advice and support

Our expert medico-legal advisers are available from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (and can be contacted around the clock for urgent enquiries) to answer any medico-legal queries about dealing with the ongoing coronavirus situation, or to offer support to members in professional difficulty. You can contact them on 0800 716 646.

This guidance was correct at publication 06/04/2020. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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