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Diane Vlek is one of those junior doctors starting today. 

By Democrat reporter

One hundred and twenty one junior doctors have started their medical careers early as they join NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinical staff in the fight against COVID-19

All have volunteered to join the frontline and will be supported immensely by their colleagues, supervisors, mentors and a peer buddy system.

They will work in surgery, medicine and care of the elderly and will likely be treating patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19.

These junior doctors will be placed across our hospitals: Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital and Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

Vale of Leven Hospital exterior

None of these juniors will be placed at Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, which seems permanently to be under threat of having services reduced or withdrawn altogether, despite West Dunbartonshire Council having “loaned” the “cash strapped” Health and Social Care Partnership £1.2 million in a recent deal.

Health Board member Cllr Jonathan McColl, the SNP council leader, says he has no objection to the Board continuing on the path of uncertainty that it is currently on. He was yet again not available to comment to The Democrat.
A new post was created (foundation intermediate year) for these individuals to start months earlier, as this group was supposed to be starting work in August. The majority of these doctors have completed their studies with the University of Glasgow.

Dr Lindsay Donaldson, Director of Medical Education, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, has collaborated with the University and NHS Education for Scotland on the recruitment of these new junior doctors as part of the board’s response to COVID-19.

She said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and dedication of this group of junior doctors that are joining us early in their medical career. We look forward to welcoming to the teams and providing them with as much support as possible as we all work together against COVID-19.”

Diane Vlek is one of those junior doctors starting today.  Originally from Surrey, she completed her studies at Newcastle University and then the University of Glasgow.

She said: “My experience as a healthcare assistant taught me the importance of working together as a team, where every role is valued and has a part to play. I’m honoured to be able to join the NHS team at a time like this and provide support. We are nervous but we are ready.”

Cullen McCulloch will be joining the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s trauma and orthopaedic team. Originally from Perth, he completed a pharmaceutical science degree at University of Dundee before pursuing medicine.

He said: “Doctors and healthcare workers have an immense responsibility right now and it’s a privilege to be a part of it. There’s been a real sense of unity during this crisis and it’s amazing to have the support of friends, family and the wider public as we head into this.”

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, Medical Director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:  “We want to thank this group of junior doctors for starting their careers early with us at such a pivotal moment. They will be a huge help to our hospitals and this is greatly appreciated by colleagues who will support them every step of the way.”

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