Policy updates – Health Education reforms

Several members of the School Management Team (SMT) have attended meetings at professional bodies, the Council of Deans of Health, The Royal College of Nursing, The Higher Education Research & Policy Network and the Higher Education Academy. These have helped us gain a better understanding of a range of reforms on the horizon, such as the Health Education Reform and the Teaching Excellence Framework.

The Health Education Reforms are clearly at the forefront of our minds and I will focus on this below. Undoubtedly the landscape will be much more competitive. Ideologically many of us may believe that NHS bursaries should not be replaced with loans. However, this is very unlikely to change and it is therefore important to feed into the consultation in a constructive way, trying to get the best deal for prospective students, and one that minimises risk to our programmes. We have already submitted our feedback to the consultation but individuals themselves can also respond. From the latest consultation we understand the following highlights (though these can change on conclusion of the consultation):

UG students will on average be 25% better off.

  • Health students will be eligible for a second loan and this will be repayable after the first loan is paid off. The loan is written off after 30 years.
  • It is proposed that part time students will have access to the loans but not till 2018, there is a suggestion that in 2017 they may continue to have access to NHS bursaries.
  • Government proposes that pre-registration MSc students will have access to the normal PG loans, up to £10,000, payable concurrent with their UG loan. However, Council of Deans and others across the country are lobbying for these students to have access to undergraduate.
  • loans and are using PGCEs as a precedent.

  • There would be an excess of £300 for travel before travel expenses for placements are paid to students.

  •  There are additional allowances for students with dependents; most will be better off; however others will be worse off.

  • Paramedic practice is currently not included in the consultation; this programmes has a mixed funding model across the country, we have proposed they should be included so that they may benefit from the same exemptions or additional benefits as those subjects in the consultation.

  • Placement funding is not yet clear and it is likely there will be further conversations after the conclusion of the consultation about this.

  • There will be much greater need for us to work with organisations for placements.

  • Healthcare postgraduate diploma students will not be eligible for the postgraduate loans.

  • Secondees are not referred to in the document.

  • CPD/PGT funding is very uncertain.

  • There may be some implications for widening participation at risk as these applicants may be more risk averse.

Professor Paula Kersten, PhD

Head of School of Health Sciences

 

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