THE Scottish Government is deploying around 12,000 students across the NHS to help combat the coronavirus.

With 3000 nursing and midwifery students being sent on placement this month, a further 7000 students will placed throughout next month.

An additional 1500 allied health professional students and 500 paramedic students will also be deployed next month.

Placements in active healthcare settings form part of a number of university courses.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf “wholeheartedly” thanked the students who would be supporting healthcare.

“As part of their professional programme of education, and throughout the pandemic, these students have worked tirelessly to support our NHS, making an invaluable contribution to the delivery of care as part of their supervised practice in health and social care environments,” he said.

“As we go into a third year facing up to the challenges of Covid, we are fortunate to combine good quality learning attained by students as part of their supervised practice with the positive impact these students have on the delivery of safe, effective patient care and their ongoing support of our NHS.

“And I wholeheartedly thank them for their hard work during this difficult time.”

Natalie Elliot, a nursing student at Glasgow Caledonian University, was among the first to be sent on placement during the pandemic in April 2020.

“I learned so much. The experience has helped boost my confidence and improved my performance,” she said.

“It was a real privilege to be part of the pandemic response and to feel that you’ve made that little bit of a difference. There was a sense of camaraderie on the wards and I really felt part of the team.”

Elliot added that the experience helped her to improve how she looks after herself and how to “be more resilient when I feel overwhelmed”.

Steve Walls, a senior charge nurse at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, praised the students who have been brought in to support the pandemic response.

“For me it has been fantastic to see how they have developed while providing an extra pair of hands, eyes and ears to make sure our patients are safely cared for as we respond to the pandemic,” he said.

“They also bring with them an enthusiasm that can lift the mood of a shift.”