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Cancelled medical student placements: the COVID-19 effect
  1. Joel Hunter,
  2. Sophie Murdoch
  1. The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Joel Hunter, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK; joelah73{at}

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We thank Dr Ding and Dr Zhang for their article on the impact of cancelling foundation year rotations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.1 As two members of the future generation of doctors, we would like to present our thoughts on the difficulties and opportunities that medical students face.

There are 35 medical schools in the UK, which can award a UK medical degree with another six new schools and programmes currently under review by the General Medical Council for approval.2 The UK medical degree is typically 5 years long with the first 2 years consisting of lecture-based study and the final 3 years being placement-based clinical teaching. Under normal circumstances in the placement years, medical students, like in the foundation programme, rotate around different medical and surgical specialities.

Medical schools have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic as they deemed appropriate—this has largely been the suspension of clinical placement, face-to-face teaching and examinations. In making these difficult decisions, medical schools will have had to take into account several factors: not only considering student, staff and patient safety but also the repercussions this will have for the future generation of doctors. The enormity of these decisions is not lost on medical students, as many are left wondering what the implications will …

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  • Contributors JH and SM planned and contributed to the manuscript equally in ideas and writing. The revision and final submission of the manuscript was made by JH and SM jointly.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None to declare.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.