Universities call for radical reforms to funding for nursing, midwifery and AHP education

30 June 2015

Universities have called for fundamental reform to the way nursing, midwifery and allied health professional education is funded.

The call comes as experts say the NHS in England is facing its worst workforce crisis in a decade and health students are struggling with financial hardship.

In a joint statement, the Council of Deans of Health and Universities UK have called on the Government to look at whether the current grants-based system can be shifted to student loans. The statement also calls on the NHS to explore its scope to repay part of a students’ loan after a given period of service, attracting newly qualified staff into careers in the health service and helping bring down spending on agency staff.

Professor Steve West, Chair of Universities UK’s Health Education and Research Policy Network, said: “It is time for change”.

“The current system of funding is not working.  We don’t have enough nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in training to meet the current and future needs of patients. At the same time, students are not receiving enough financial support to meet their day to day costs of living and universities receive less for many of these courses than they actually cost to deliver, and less than the £9,000 fee that universities receive for other subjects.”

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said:

“There are no easy decisions on funding reform but with appropriate safeguards, the outstanding record of nursing, midwifery and AHPs in widening participation to higher education can continue. There are risks to change but if we want the numbers of health professionals that we know future patients will need, the system must be overhauled.”



Notes to editors:

  1. Joint statement – Health Education Funding Reform 
  2. For more information on the funding gap in pre-registration in England, please see the briefing note.
  3. The Council of Deans of Health is the voice of the deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions councilofdeans.org.uk
  4. Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 133 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities Scotland), it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally. Visit: universitiesuk.ac.uk
  5. For more information on this press release please email Gareth Morgan or Jon Eames.

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