DOCTORS in training joined the sharp end of the of the vaccination programme as they helped to deliver spring boosters to care home residents.
Medical students, Charlotte Sellstrom, Callum Dunlop and Lakshimi-Narayanan, from Newcastle University, assisted GP partner at Dunelm Medical Practice, Durham, Dr Helen Cooke, community nurse practitioner, Emma Noble, and primary care network community pharmacist Phill Stubbs, to give vaccinations to all eligible residents at Melbury Court Care Home.
Dr Cooke, who is also a GP lecturer and clinical supervisor at Newcastle University, said: “Dunelm Medical Practice has been involved in the teaching of medical students for almost 20 years.
“Teaching is at the core of our practice and five out of ten of our GP partners are GP trainers.
“Our third-year students are currently on placement with us each Thursday and our fifth-year student is with us on a four-week placement, but this is the first time that we have involved any of them in the vaccination programme.
“We know COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere and the vaccination programme will be a regular service that we need to deliver. These doctors in training are the future of our health service and not only was this an opportunity for them to be involved in the biggest vaccination programme in the NHS’ history, but also a chance to deliver it for the most vulnerable in our community”.
As part of its training programme Dunelm Medical Practice also hosts postgraduate doctors, GP registrars, and foundation doctors from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
“Training at medical school has looked quite different to previous years due to the pandemic,” said Dr Cooke.
“The students, who are mainly practice based, were really keen to get involved and play their part and this opportunity has allowed them to work in an environment which allows them to see lots of patients with different needs in their own home.
“I hope that the experience has given them a new perspective on the wide range of ways that primary care is able to support patients in a number of clinical settings and hopefully they may choose to become general practitioners in the future”.
Final year medical student Charlotte Sellstrom added: “We had a great afternoon consolidating our skills in vaccination and left feeling glad to have made a difference to the residents”.
Dr Sam Bethapudi, clinical director, Durham West Primary Care Network and GP partner at Dunelm Medical Practice, welcomed the opportunity for the medical students be part of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
“Across the primary care network, we aim to provide high-quality, hands-on training to our students, trainee nurses and doctors with effective mentoring and leadership opportunities to help develop the clinicians and leaders of the future”, he said.
Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer, NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and clinical director of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the North East and North Cumbria, also had high praise for the students.
“I am extremely proud that GP practices in County Durham are helping young medical students take an active and important role in the vaccination programme, especially as this involves protecting some of our most vulnerable residents”, he added.
“They are the future of our workforce and fantastic ambassadors for primary care”.