HCSA urges deaneries to implement medical student Covid safeguards

HCSA's Junior Doctors' Committee has written to Deans of all UK medical schools urging them to implement four recommendations to safeguard medical students during placements.

Areas for action include vaccination policy, additional training in safe working and policies to cover Covid-related absences.

JDC chair Dr Emma Cox said: "Medical students deserve to feel safe and supported in their studies.

"Covid is not over and medical students are feeling trepidation about the measures in place for their placements. Medical Schools must act now to safeguard students and ensure minimal disruption once term begins."

The full recommendations are as follows:

  1. All final year medical students should have had the opportunity to receive both vaccines before commencing clinical work, allowing adequate time (14 days) post-vaccination to starting employment.
  2. All medical students regardless of their stage of training are offered vaccinations early. This would ensure adequate protection throughout their training and reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19, as well as the risk of Covid-19 transmission to patients encountered whilst on clinical placements.
  3. Safe application (donning and doffing) of PPE be integrated into the skills side of the curriculum so that whilst on clinical placement students can be protected as much as possible and not be excluded from training opportunities.
  4. A formalised Covid absence policy is in place for all students which allows discretionary days off for covid-related absence such as isolation. The policy should include additional support for students to catch up following any Covid-related absence.