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Two thousand new doctors sign up to join COVID-19 battle ahead of schedule

7 April 2020

A total of 2,213 new junior doctors have already signed up to join the NHS frontline early, and hundreds could begin as soon as next week (April 13).

Health Education England (HEE) has worked with key partners in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow final-year medical students to graduate and register early. From Monday, more than 500 graduates will be eligible to join the workforce as first-year postgraduate trainees, with many hundreds more expected to follow as they graduate in the coming weeks and months. 

This month a further 2,200 medical students are due to graduate, and at least 760 more between May and June.  

As the early registration scheme has only just been put in place, it is unknown how many final-year students in total will register. But already so far, 2,213 of 5,750 eligible final year medical students in England have asked to begin work ahead of their usual August start date. 

Professor Wendy Reid, acting Chief Executive, Health Education England, said: “The current crisis requires new initiatives, and we are proud that by working closely with our partners so many new doctors have been enabled to swell the NHS ranks at this time of greatest need.

“We will repay their courage and dedication by giving them all the support and information we can.”

Professor Sheona MacLeod, HEE’s acting Director of Quality and Education, said: "We are continuing to get details from medical schools, and the number of medical students who graduate and join the medical workforce in supportive working environments will increase over the next few months."