180 new medics graduate early to join fight against COVID-19

Medicine students from the University of Leicester will graduate early today, to join the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

In an online celebration taking place today, around 180 final-year students will take the physicians pledge and begin their foundation year early in hospital placements across the UK, in a bid to support the NHS during the pandemic.

Around 50 of them will go to work in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, and the rest will join the front lines across England, Wales and Scotland.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Leicester said: “I offer my congratulations and deepest gratitude to each and every student that is graduating today. I am immensely proud of their determination to serve, how they are driven by a sense of duty and to offer help when the country is in its hour of need.

“It is truly wonderful how students and staff have come together during this difficult time and gone above and beyond in offering to support to those in need.

“They will continue to embrace our University motto ‘Ut vitam habeant – so that they may have life’ at a crucial time in our nation’s history.”

Professor Philip Baker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Life Sciences, Dean of Medicine said: “Often the greatest challenges in someone’s professional life comes after many years of experience on their chosen path. Our new graduates are arguably stepping into what could be the greatest challenge of their professional career, and embracing the opportunity with fortitude and heart. I want to congratulate every student and express our pride as a University for their service.”

Rebecca Brown, Acting Chief Executive at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “This is a once in a generation group of medics, a generation that will be experiencing a global pandemic first hand, and who will each have an important role to play.  I’m excited to welcome many of the Class of 2020 to #TeamUHL and for those that are moving back home or to elsewhere in the UK, I know they will be met by that same welcome.

“Congratulations to each and every one of you graduating today on reaching this important career milestone. Welcome to the NHS Family.”

The majority of student doctors began studying medicine straight out of secondary education, a number of doctors graduating today have come into the field in later life, with 5% of graduates aged 30 and over. The number of men (47.5%) and women graduating (52.5%) was also split evenly.