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Published: 03 April 2020

Students at St George’s will have opportunities to volunteer to support the NHS during a time of intense pressure on the Service as coronavirus cases continue to rise.  

Over 100 students have already stepped forward to use the skills and knowledge they have gained through studying at St George's to support the NHS.

In a message to all students, Professor Higham, Principal, said: “We are proud that so many of you have asked about helping the NHS as it deals with the greatest public health challenge we have faced in the UK in a century. Thank you for your tremendous commitment to serving our community.​”  

Staff at the University are in detailed discussions with the NHS and relevant national bodies about how they can facilitate voluntary opportunities. Relevant information for cohorts about how they can volunteer is already being shared, and will be updated as arrangements continue to be finalised.  

In line with the current government guidance, students are discouraged from travelling extensively, including to complete voluntary work, while the current restrictions remain in place. 

Professor Higham added, “Priorities for us are to minimise any risks to your safety, ensuring that you receive appropriate training for any role you take on and that you have access to any protective equipment you need. Alongside, we must ensure that you are able to progress with your education.”  

Details of volunteering opportunities have already been shared with different sections of the St George’s student community including Medicine (MBBS) students in all years of study except finalists and with students on the Physician Associate and allied health courses. In line with guidance from the Medical Schools Council, the current priority for Medicine finalists is completing their studies so they can graduate. 

Professor Hannah Cock, Director of the Medicine (MBBS) course at St George’s, said: “Many students from all years of the course had been asking us if they could volunteer to help, and use their skills to support the NHS at this challenging time. We are doing everything we can to support this, whilst ensuring this remains entirely voluntary, and cannot be a substitute for formal clinical teaching or learning which is just as important to protect for the longer needs of the NHS”. 

St George’s, University of London is also supporting the St George’s NHS Foundation Trust by providing spaces that NHS staff working in the emergency department can use for downtime. 

Notes for students

  • Students should only volunteer if they are confident that they can fit this around any ongoing teaching, learning and assessment commitments.​ ​Students on taught courses graduating this academic year are being strongly advised not to volunteer, but to prioritize their graduation. No one should volunteer who is considered at higher risk of developing severe symptoms from Covid-19, including those with a relevant underlying condition, who are on certain drugs that affect the immune system or who are pregnant. ​ ​
  • In line with the current government guidance, we do not encourage you to travel. If you are no longer in the vicinity, please do not return to St George’s or any other partner NHS provider to volunteer. Details of opportunities to support the NHS provision in your current location are stated on the canvas volunteer page.

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