New guidance means more students can volunteer and work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know it’s a challenging and uncertain time for medical students. Some of you will have exams rescheduled, while others had planned electives or final assignments before starting the foundation programme.

Medical students across the country have been responding to calls to support the NHS during COVID-19. We want to help you work safety and responsibly.

The UK Health Departments, the GMC and the Medical Schools Council have issued new guidance meaning more students can volunteer and work to respond to this unprecedented health emergency.

For common questions about your MDU membership and the latest guidance and advice, you can find more information on our coronavirus hub page.

Here’s how medical students can support the effort.  

I am a medical student and want to help during the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

Medical students are able to volunteer in the NHS if they’re willing and able to do so. As a medical student, you may be able to help carry out duties that don’t require registration, for example working as healthcare assistants. Final year medical students have been able to register with the GMC earlier than usual to allow them to begin their FY1 year.

The GMC advises that arrangements for volunteering should be made locally. You must be supervised to be safe and act within your competence. You must not be asked to carry out any duties of a doctor.

I am a medical student and would like to work as an FY1 doctor to assist with the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The GMC has confirmed that early provisional registration of final year medical students, can take place once they have graduated and early full registration of suitable foundation year 1 (FY1) doctors.

The key principles and factors worth considering:

  • It will be for these graduates and doctors to decide if they wish to contribute in this way and opt in.
  • The safety of these doctors will be paramount. They should be given induction, provided with full necessary personal protection equipment and the training to use it, appropriately supervised, and not asked to work beyond their competence.
  • Employers working with medical schools and statutory education bodies will determine how these individuals can best be deployed to support front line colleagues.
As always, our expert medico-legal advisers are available to answer any medico-legal queries about dealing with the ongoing coronavirus situation.

If you wish to work as an FY1 doctor, it's essential you have appropriate GMC registration. MDU student membership includes advice and assistance with any medico-legal matters that arise and you do not need to let us know you are doing this work.

Stories from the front line

We’ve seen many students sign up to support the NHS effort during the coronavirus outbreak. Next month, you’ll hear from Sarah Allen, a newly graduated FY1 who is due to start working in a Manchester hospital. She shares her experience of signing up and graduating early.

We’re by your side with guidance and advice

We know lots of you have many questions, especially those of you entering hospitals soon. We’re constantly updating our online guidance and advice as soon as new information becomes available. You can find the latest guidance and advice updates about the coronavirus outbreak on the MDU website.

Our advisory team is also regularly answering the questions our members have been contacting us about, in videos recorded from their own homes. This update from MDU medico-legal adviser Dr Udvitha Nandasoma discusses some of the most common questions we've had from members including indemnity and working outside your usual field of practice, PPE and remote consultations.

As always, our expert medico-legal advisers are available from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (and can be contacted around the clock for urgent enquiries) to answer any medico-legal queries about dealing with the ongoing coronavirus situation, or to offer support to members who need medico-legal advice relating to their professional practice. You can contact them on

This page was correct at publication on 23/04/2020. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.