Headshot of Alex Ruddy

The NHS workforce in Wales received a major boost in April when final year medical students were  given the chance join the frontline fight against Covid-19. 

Among those who stepped up to take on hospital duties was Alex Ruddy. 

He was part a cohort of students from Swansea University’s Graduate Entry Medicine programme who were inducted into the profession early by the General Medical Council and went on to take part in Swansea University’s first ever virtual graduation. 

Despite the pressures and risks of becoming a frontline medic earlier than expected, Alex didn’t hesitate to take up the opportunity to start on the wards. 

“The prospect of beginning my career as a doctor a few months early filled me with a sense of nervous duty,” he said.  Of course, we were all concerned about the pressures facing the NHS. Perhaps most concerning for us are the pressures staff are now under to deliver effective care for patients while putting themselves, and their loved ones, in very real danger every day. 

However, despite entering the profession during a global pandemic, Alex said he felt it was the right thing to do. 

“We have trained for this moment for the past four years and have been working towards it for much longer -  and above the sense of personal fear or anxiety I think we are all eager to apply ourselves to this crisis and help our NHS at this time of immense need. 

Participation was voluntary and only offered to students who had completed the requirements of the programme they studied on, passed the relevant summative assessments and the mandatory components of the programme. 

The new recruits became interim Foundation Y1 doctors (FY1), entering the two-year UK Foundation Programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training, immediately.  

Alex, who originally studied Medical Biochemistry at Swansea before his medical training, added: “This is our calling, and although it has arrived at an unexpected and unpredictable time, we will not be ignoring it."