Lancaster University medics help the NHS cope with Covid-19

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New doctors from Lancaster University are working across the NHS to help it cope with the pandemic.

Lancaster Medical School graduated some 43 of its final year medical students a few months early so they could begin work as doctors at once.

Dr Emmanuella Adu-Peprah is currently working as a junior doctor at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

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“I initially came into medical school to help others and improve the lives of those who are unwell - there is no greater time than to do this, especially during a global pandemic.

Dr Sophie England and Dr Emmanuella Adu-Peprah.Dr Sophie England and Dr Emmanuella Adu-Peprah.
Dr Sophie England and Dr Emmanuella Adu-Peprah.

“Staff morale is high and everyone is supportive to us new interim foundation doctors. Due to the current course of the pandemic and the slowing down in cases, the hospitals are currently not as busy as I had anticipated. But there are still patients who are unwell, non-Covid and require hospital care.”

Dr Sophie England is now working as a junior doctor at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield on the busy Stroke & Neurology ward.

“My ward is meant to be a ‘non-Covid’ ward but you never really know what comes through the door at the moment. We’ve had a few patients presenting with strokes who happen to have coronavirus, or people who’ve started displaying symptoms and have to be isolated, but it’s just the general picture of hospitals at the moment.

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“Looking after Covid patients is fine though, we’ve all kind of got used to it and it’s the new normal in hospital. I’m not as apprehensive of seeing Covid patients as I was at the start of the pandemic.”

Despite initial nerves starting work, she has found her team to be very supportive and she feels she is making a real difference.

“When I became a doctor, I wanted to help people, plus at 13 it sounded cool to say I wanted to be a doctor but somehow I stuck with it and it eventually came true! It’s not at all what I expected to be; you have your good days and your bad days, but I wouldn’t change what I do. You can say it’s a dream come true!”

Dr Amber Rowland is currently working on a surgical ward at the Royal Blackburn Hospital where many of the patients are having cancer surgery.

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“It feels really great to help the NHS during this pandemic and to work with vulnerable patients who urgently require surgery but need a decreased risk being exposed to Covid.”

The ward is a ‘clean ward’ which means all of the patients have negative Covid19 swabs before admission and all staff have to change into their uniform upon entering and leaving the ward to minimise the chances of bringing infections onto the ward.

“My job involves working as a junior doctor on the ward which includes joining the daily ward round, completing clinical skills such as bloods and cannulas and looking after patients if they get acutely unwell during their admission.”

A further 74 current Lancaster medical students are also either working in the NHS on placements, volunteering or planning to do so.