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Covid-19: medical students should not work outside their competency, says BMA

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Medical students who are employed in the NHS as part of efforts to swell staff numbers to tackle covid-19 should not be expected to “step up” and act outside of their competency, says the BMA in new guidance.

This is the first set of guidance released by the BMA specifically for medical students, who have had placements and exams cancelled and are uncertain about how they might be employed in the NHS in the current crisis. It says that any employment should be voluntary and within the competency of the student, who should have adequate access to personal protective equipment.

The BMA refers to General Medical Council guidance that states that plans are not currently in place to move provisional registration forward from the normal August date. It warns that there are concerns around the boundaries of practice and the level of supervision that students who take on roles in the NHS would have, which could lead to unsafe working practices. The BMA is in talks to negotiate a safe national contract for such roles.

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Source: BMJ, 24 March 2020

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