Give medical students the opportunity to volunteer in the general practice setting during the COVID-19 pandemic, write three medical students in the journal Family Practice.
In a letter to the editor, Catherine Santucci and Munashe Veremu from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Victoria, Malta, along with David McMaster from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, say there are novel opportunities for medical students to engage in out-of-hours work in primary care during this pandemic.
They say there are increasing demands for primary care exposure within the undergraduate curriculum, and out-of-hours work is a rare phenomenon.
At present, barriers to participation in out-of-hours work include ensuring suitable supervision, appropriate financial remuneration and transport.
“We believe opening these opportunities locally on a volunteer basis will alleviate some of these barriers, attracting many of the thousands of medical students keen to help the National Health Service, but currently without the opportunity to do so,” they say.
Facilitating students to volunteer in general practice could offer a valuable workforce to complement the current services, and exposure to out-of-hours work in general practice could be a useful adjunct to existing primary care placements.
The authors call on medical schools and associated primary care centres to work together to offer this training, enabling students to contribute as soon as possible.