Most people are aware that the NHS needs a helping hand when it come to caring for patients. In an article created by the Guardian, the level of help needed by the National Health Service may be bigger than many people knew. The newspaper suggests that medical students are being encouraged to assist the NHS deal with the winter crisis. This comes as many hospitals across the country find themselves short-staffed, and are unable to deal with the level of demand that they face.
The fact that inexperienced students are being pressed onto the frontline indicates the pressure that the NHS is under. These students are being placed into wards and A&E units. At this time of year, there is always a higher level of pressure being placed on these departments. In recent weeks, the wintry weather has played a role in the high number of flu outbreaks and people suffering breathing complaints.
Students are being asked to carry out serious roles
Some of the tasks that the students have been asked to do are of a serious nature. Some students have been asked to fit cannulas, which is a tube inserted into patients to assist them in receiving medicine. Students have also been asked to take blood from clients, which is work normally undertaken by doctors or nurses.
The fact that students have been asked to carry out this work has been dubbed a concern by many people and The British Medical Association has classed it as a desperate measure. The BMA has gone as far as to suggest that this action may place people’s health at risk and that it is an exploitation of the undergraduate students. In some ways, it is good that these students have the chance to experience the pressure that they will face daily when they qualify but given that these professionals haven’t yet qualified, it is a lot of pressure to place on them.
There may be legal matters to contend with
There is also a worry for the NHS if any issues arise due to students making mistakes. There could be legal issues arising from any problems arising from mistakes made by students. There has also been concerns raised about the fact that the presence of students on wards may go a long way to masking the issue of understaffed departments. It is not as though people are going to be fooled about the difficulties the NHS faces in staffing, but it could be that statistics or figures are manipulated at a later date to make the situation look more palatable.