A group of new doctors from Aberdeen University have graduated early so they can join the battle against Covid-19.
After receiving guidance from the General Medical Council, the graduation date for final year students at the city institution was brought forward by nine weeks so the medics can help the NHS.
Usually the medical students would have been capped on June 19 at the summer graduations but the pandemic forced their cancellation.
The doctors who were able to volunteer to join the health service will begin work under supervision across the UK by the end of the month.
There were 179 medical students who graduated in a virtual ceremony yesterday with a video conferencing tool being used to allow it to go ahead.
Professor Rona Patey, the director of the institute for education in medical and dental sciences at the university, said: “Our medical graduates will begin their careers by applying their skills and knowledge to support the response to an unprecedented world health crisis.
“We are immensely proud of their achievements and are confident they are prepared and ready for the challenges ahead.”
One of the new group of doctors soon to join the front line is jazz musician Callum Eddie from Aberdeen whose mother is a GP. He will be working as a junior doctor in Aberdeen for the next two years.
Callum is a member of the university’s jazz society, the Aberdeen University medics football club and went to school at Harlaw Academy.
The 23-year-old said: “Being a doctor is all I’ve ever wanted to be so I am looking forward to doing what I can.
“In the last few weeks I have been in awe of the NHS.
“Every single person working, or volunteering, has been absolutely incredible, and it has been amazing to hear everyone’s support every Thursday evening too.
“The amount of work everyone has put in, and the danger people are putting themselves in on the front lines is absolutely admirable.
“I am sure my classmates would agree, the way we can contribute to the effort to tackle Covid-19 is to do literally whatever is needed.
“The way I see it is, we are all in this together, healthcare professionals and the general public included, and if we all continue working together as a team we will get through this.”
Former Peterhead Academy pupil James Murray is preparing to take up a post at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The 24-year-old, who has graduated with a degree in medicine, is keenly aware of the challenges ahead, but is looking forward to being involved.
He said: “As someone from Peterhead, I am delighted to graduate from the local university with a degree in medicine and obtain a job where I will continue to serve the people of the north-east.
“Having undertaken five years of teaching and clinical placements, the programme at Aberdeen has equipped us with the skills and confidence to enter the profession safely during these unprecedented times.”
Phil Calderwood, from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, said he is hoping to repay the time and effort university and NHS staff have put into him as he graduates early with a degree in medicine.
He will begin work straight away as an interim foundation year one doctor in Aberdeen.
Phil said: “There are a few mixed feelings, to be honest. We have been training for our first day on the wards for a long time now and we know we are ready but this particular challenge could not have been predicted.
“We know we have a great support network in the university which is reassuring.
“I think everybody wants to be of some help with the skills that they’ve worked hard at developing.”
Mhairi Macfarlane, from Insch, is waiting to start as an interim foundation year one doctor in London, with the hope of contributing to the effort to tackle Covid-19.
She said: “I feel that having completed very practical placements in my final year of medicine, studying in both the acute medical admissions unit and the emergency department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, the university has prepared me well to now begin as a new doctor in this unprecedented time.
“I hope my contribution will help to ease some of the workload due to the increased numbers of patients, as well as the increased numbers of staff members becoming ill.”