Covid-19: Frequently Asked Questions (Universities)

We have received many questions from members and have created a set of FAQs that answer the most common and important queries. If you have any urgent questions please submit them using our online form. You will appreciate that in some cases we will not have the answer yet and will need to work these through with other bodies.

01. When will the NMC emergency education standards end? (UK)

The NMC emergency education standards will end on 30 September 2020 to allow students to retain their supernumerary status. Some of the standards will remain to allow flexibility for students and universities. The emergency education standards are not directive so universities may choose to transition students off the emergency arrangements prior to 30 September 2020.

02. When will the HCPC temporary register close? (UK)

HCPC will close student temporary registration on 30 September 2020. The HCPC are notifying all students on the temporary register of this decision and encouraging them to apply for registration, via the UK application route, as soon as they have successfully completed their education programme.

03. How can we compensate for AHP students who have not been able to complete their final clinical placement? (UK)

The HCPC’s standards are flexible in this regard and do not prescribe a minimum that must be achieved. The HCPC expects education providers to consider what is necessary to ensure learners have met the relevant learning outcomes through any practice-based learning. On this basis, it may be possible to adjust the minimum practice-based learning hours you set. If you do make an adjustment, please ensure you are clear on the reasons for doing so and ensure you can evidence this.

Every effort should be made by all parties to ensure third years students are able to complete their course and graduate in a timely manner to help minimise disruption to the workforce pipeline.

04. Will the flexibility offered by the HCPC apply into the next academic year? (UK)

The HCPC will keep the interim arrangements as long as necessary to support education providers to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The HCPC will also consider how they can use our monitoring mechanisms to allow for an appropriate level of reflection and review of programmes and how they have responded to the crisis at some point in the future.

05. Will the HCPC check what changes we made to teaching and assessment in the next audit? (UK)

The HCPC has not yet determined the details of this. Broadly, however, the HCPC intends to use its existing monitoring mechanisms to support a process of reflection amongst education providers regarding their approach to managing COVID-19. The HCPC will be in contact with education providers in the next academic year to discuss their specific requirements.

06. Will recently announced maintenance grants for healthcare students in England still be implemented? (Eng)

It has been confrimed that the recently announced maintenance grants will be implemented from September 2020.  Full guidance for healthcare students for 2020/21 has now been published by NHS Business Services Authority.

07. How should universities respond to concerns from students about lack of PPE? (UK)

Universities have a responsibility to continue to support students in practice. If a student informs you that they are not equipped with adequate PPE, you should raise this immediately with the placement provider. In England, Health Education England (HEE) should also be informed about this. In the devolved nations, the respective government departments as well as Health and Care Improvement Wales (HEIW) and NHS Education Scotland (NES) should be informed.

08. Will final year nursing and midwifery students in Scotland continue to receive the bursary if their programmes are extended? (Sct)

Yes, it has been agreed that financial support will continue until 31 December 2020 for eligible final year students who still have placement time to complete as part of their nursing and midwifery programmes in Scotland.

09. Will final year nursing and midwifery students in Wales continue to receive the bursary if their programmes are extended? (Wal)

It has been confirmed that financial support for eligible Welsh students will continue to ensure they can complete their programme.

10. Are international students whose visas have expired able to stay in the UK? (UK)

If their visa expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 then they could request an extension if they were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to Covid-19.

If they have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, they will be able to stay within the UK up to 31 August 2020.From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of their stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of their leave. So, if conditions allowed them to work, study or rent accommodation they may continue to do so during August 2020.

If an international student has applied for a Tier 4 visa they can start their course or studies before their visa application has been decided if:

  • their sponsor is a Tier 4 sponsor
  • they have confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
  • they can evidence that they submitted their application before their current leave expired

 

11. How is research funded or supported by the NIHR being impacted? (UK)

At the start of the pandemic the NIHR was encouraging health and care professionals and clinical academics who were undertaking non COVID-19 related research, to prioritise frontline work. However the NHIR is now looking at restoring all research portfolios and has created a ‘Framework for restart’. They also have FAQs on the impact on NIHR funded/supported research.

12. What are the life assurance arrangements for students taking up supernumerary placements? (UK)

In England, students on paid placements were eligible for the temporary life assurance scheme set up during Covid-19 but students on normal placements are not automatically eligible. The Secretary of State has discretion to make life assurance payments to the families of unpaid students if the individual case fulfils the scheme’s strict criteria. The Department of Health and Social Care has produced a factsheet.

In Wales, students are included in the list of eligible individuals for the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme 2020.

In Scotland, a temporary Covid-19 linked death in service cover to students undertaking clinical placements in NHS
Scotland. has been agreed. A one-off payment of £60,000 will be made to the next of kin of any student who dies where Covid-19 is a documented factor, whilst on a NHS clinical placements.