Sydney (Tribune International, Health & Medical Research Release, 9 May 2020): Final year medical students will take on new, supervised roles in NSW hospitals under a $12.7 million initiative to boost the medical workforce if needed during the pandemic.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government is working with NSW universities to identify around
200 final year medical students who can be made available to work in non-COVID hospital wards, if required, to free up existing staff to care for COVID-19 cases.
“Our fantastic doctors and nurses in NSW overcome enormous challenges every day but we’re taking extra steps to ensure our medical workforce is ready for anything the pandemic hits us with,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Any spike in COVID-19 cases would put pressure on our hospital system so we’ve partnered with universities to have recruits on standby to support our hospital medical staff if the need arises.
“These students already have a good understanding of the NSW Heath system, having participated in placements since their degrees began, so they will be well prepared to provide additional support if needed.”
Final year medical students, who opt in and are assessed as having the skills to undertake the role, will be employed by Local Health Districts as Assistants in Medicine. These are new positions, requiring the students to carry out a range of tasks including admitting and reviewing patients and performing procedures such as taking blood.
They will be deployed to hospitals across the state that need support, and will work under supervision as part of a medical team providing patient care in non-COVID wards.
The NSW Government is delivering $800 million extra funding for NSW Health to help boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment.