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UEA cancels medical exams, allowing final-year students to join coronavirus fight this summer

PUBLISHED: 16:32 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:58 19 March 2020

The UEA has cancelled written exams for final-year students this summer. Picture: Denise Bradley

The UEA has cancelled written exams for final-year students this summer. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

Medical students will graduate without having to take their final exams this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cancelling the exams will mean students can still graduate and join the NHS as doctors in August Photo: ArchantCancelling the exams will mean students can still graduate and join the NHS as doctors in August Photo: Archant

The University of East Anglia (UEA) said the decision to cancel the final written exams was “not taken lightly” and it would mean students can start working as doctors from August.

It mimics moves by other medical schools across the country.

A spokesman said the students had spent 20 weeks on clinical placement and were given clinical assessments in March.

“An exam board will review students’ progression through their five years of study,” they said.

“In the meantime, given the need to support the NHS workforce in these difficult times, medical students can volunteer to work in the NHS, although they will not be able to undertake the duties of a qualified doctor.

“We have advised students that they must act within their competence, whilst being supervised and safe.

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“We know that some students have already been volunteering and we are incredibly proud of them for this.

“Guidance has been provided to both students affected, and local NHS providers and we are working with them to explore opportunities for our students to contribute.”

One final-year student said: “I was hoping the exams would be brought forward so we’d still sit them, but I know it’s not feasible. There are 160 of us so we can’t all be sat in the same room together.”

They said they were being trained on Monday in using personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We’ll be working away from Covid-19 patients, so we won’t be in intensive care or A&E.

“I definitely think it’s reasonable. It isn’t much different to what we were going to be doing on our last elective, but we’re just getting paid for it.”

The Medical Schools Council said last week that universities should not delay students’ qualification.

An NNUH spokesman said: “Appropriately trained medical students are being offered the opportunity to join our bank staff and support us.

“We will ensure that all students are correctly orientated to our hospital and their skills appropriately matched for specific tasks.”

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