Student medics from Portsmouth join army field hospital to treat patients with Covid-19

AS BRITAIN today marks the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of war in Europe medical students from Portsmouth have taken to the front line in the fight a different battle against an invisible enemy.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 11:08 am
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 11:08 am

Nine students from the University of Portsmouth have joined St Mary’s Hospital in Newport on the Isle of Wight to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The site is the centre of a field hospital constructed by the army last month to help the island cope with patients infected with Covid-19.

The student team are now working as student physician associates to support doctors in the diagnosis and management of hospital patients and have volunteered to work alongside the clinical teams at St Mary’s during this time.

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The nine student medics from Portsmouth who are volunteering to help treat people infected with Covid-19 on the Isle of Wight

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Physician associates can be found working in GP surgeries, accident and emergency departments and inpatient medical and surgical wards throughout the UK and are trained to perform a number of duties such as taking medical histories, performing examinations, analysing test results, and diagnosing illnesses under the direct supervision of a doctor.

Dr Donna Dalgetty, course leader of physician associate studies at Portsmouth is working on the wards with the students.

Dr Dalgetty, said: ‘I am immensely proud of our students for joining us on the frontline here at St Mary's during this challenging time.

‘They have proved to be a welcome addition to the medical teams. I am also very grateful to all at the Trust for their warmth and support for this new role, especially our foundation doctors who have been offering bespoke teaching to the students in their lunch breaks.’

Dr Mark Pugh, consultant rheumatologist at St Mary’s Hospital and a professor at the university said physician associates were ‘a relatively new type of clinician for the NHS’ but have been contributing to US healthcare for about 70 years.

He added: ‘I am so proud of the way the students, some of whom I teach through my link with the university, have thrown themselves in their role with enthusiasm, good humour and increasing skill.

‘We need more physician associates working on the Island in primary and secondary care.’

One of the students, called Peter, said: ‘Getting used to the PPE whilst caring for Covid patients has been scary at times but everyone is supportive and ensuring that we are always safe and get plenty of breaks.’

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