Is there a doctor here? East Ham sixth form sees 52 pupils earn medical course places

Twins Emmanuel and Edoard Beltazar are set to study medicine at University College London in Septemb

Twins Emmanuel and Edoard Beltazar are set to study medicine at University College London in September. Picture: LDRS - Credit: LDRS

More than 50 pupils at an East Ham sixth form have won places to study medicine at top universities after being inspired by the “heroics” of NHS staff during the pandemic.

Newham Collegiate Sixth Form has seen 52 pupils offered places to universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, to study medicine in September.

They include identical twins Emmanuel and Edoard Beltazar, 18, who barely spoke a word of English when they moved to the UK from Italy just four years ago.

The pair are due to take their place on the same medicine course at University College London in September.

Emmanuel said: “It has been incredible watching the scenes on the television of what these immensely brave people in the NHS are doing every day.

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“People who live in our neighbourhood and from our ethnic background, which is south Asian, have been very badly affected. It makes the whole thing so much more personal.

“It is frustrating because if this had happened in five years’ time, me and my brother could be there on the front line helping. It will be such a proud moment for us when we finally join the NHS.”

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Edoard added: “When there are people dying in your neighbourhood, on your street, it is very close, very scary. Never has the world needed doctors and nurses and other frontline staff so much. They are heroes and we want to be just like them.”

Rafiah Niha, 18, from East Ham, won a place to study medicine at Magdalen College, Oxford.

She said: “At times it has had me in tears overcome with emotion. Newham is an area which has been really badly affected by the pandemic.

“The work the doctors and NHS staff are doing to help people is so inspiring. These people are my heroes, I want to be like them one day.”

Newham Collegiate runs a dedicated medicine degree access programme which includes work experience placements shadowing doctors, as well as interview prep panels with medics plus masterclasses on applying for Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.

Principal Mouhssin Ismail said: “In many ways I understand the instinct of these young people. They have seen great pain inflicted upon their community and want to do something to help.

“I am incredibly proud of our students’ achievement and I know they will go on to make a significant contribution to the NHS initially as doctors, but then as leaders of our health care system.”

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