Medical Students 'On Standby' As NSW Prepares For Any Spike In Cases
Some NSW medical students will enter the workforce early as the state prepares for a surge in COVID-19 cases.
About 200 final-year students will be allowed to take up supervised roles with local health districts as assistants in medicine.
The non-COVID roles are expected to free up existing staff to care for COVID-19 cases, should infections rise.
The three stages of coronavirus restriction easing "all have risks associated with them," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
"We still have to prepare ... for the possibility that we'll have outbreaks," he told reporters on Saturday.
"There is no question that until we have a vaccine, we have to understand in releasing some of the rules ... there are risks."
NSW is treating 110 cases in its health system, including eight in intensive care.
Almost 400 other people are listed as unrecovered, are less than three weeks from symptom onset or do not have available recovery data.
The students will need to opt-in and will be assessed to ensure they have the appropriate skills such as blood collecting and reviewing patients.
"These students already have a good understanding of the NSW Health system, having participated in placements since their degrees began," Hazzard said.
"So they will be well prepared to provide additional support if needed."
The initiative is expected to cost $12.7 million.