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NHS Student Workforce Fund

 March 11, 2021 | Jess Mifsud-Bonnici


The Covid-19 pandemic had a massive impact on our trainee medical and healthcare professionals. Whether it was a disruption to their studies or moving to work in the NHS earlier than they expected, this year brought incredible upheaval to their student experience.

For some, these strains came on top of considerable financial barriers thrown up as a consequence of the pandemic. This included the loss of part-time employment, the additional cost of accommodation for students who were redeployed outside Leeds or those with immediate household members who were shielding, as well as the cost of childcare for those who are parents.

“With healthcare shifts becoming scarce, I wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to afford anything really, like rent, bills and getting food because I relied on this part-time work to support my studies,” says student Physician Associate Olivia Speed. “It’s hard to enjoy the student experience with that worry at the back of your head – and I just wasn’t really sure what else I could do.”

Thanks to you we were able to give our students a much-needed sense of financial security during this challenging time. Your gifts to the NHS Workforce Fund, including a grant from Santander’s Covid response fund, supported a range of students in undergraduate and postgraduate study in many medical and healthcare disciplines. Your support meant that we were able to award an amazing 96 grants averaging almost £650.

Another recipient adds: “I want to say thank you to everyone who gave to the Fund. It’s really touching that the donors thought about us, especially during this pandemic when everyone is so busy with their own things going on.”

Your kindness has also enabled us to expand our counselling services through recruiting extra staff, increasing the availability of those with trauma specialisms to work with students throughout the ongoing crisis. We hope to update you on this in the future – to show the tremendous impact which your generosity is continuing to have on the mental wellbeing of students on our medical and healthcare courses.

Alongside this, the University developed a mentorship scheme to help our graduates on the first steps of their medical career. We reached out to our community of alumni medics, to draw upon their experience of working in the NHS and to support our students. You can find out more about this scheme here.

In the video, you can catch up with the Covid-19 and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Webinar – where they explored the impact and realities of the pandemic for the Faculty of Medicine and Health. From resources to research, faculty staff and students to alumni supporters, this webinar unpicks and recognises some of the extraordinary and ongoing efforts of the University community.