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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Impact on the Faculty from the latest comprehensive spending review

An update from Anne Baileff

The changes to the funding of Nursing, Midwifery and AHP education announced in the comprehensive spending review will without doubt have a significant impact on the Faculty; presenting both challenges and opportunities. While our relationship with Health Education Wessex (HEW) is likely to change, they are expected to retain strategic oversight and management of placements, and so the need to maintain a strong collegiate relationship with them will be as important now as it has ever been. Our relationship with our NHS partners will also change as they look to us, rather than HEW, to help them resolve the unprecedented understaffing crisis that they are all experiencing. We will also need to nurture further our relationships with PVI sector colleagues, in order to better understand the career opportunities that might exist for our graduates.

The impact that the changes will have on recruitment is as yet unknown. It is reassuring to know that the work undertaken by the Council of Deans for Health has demonstrated that, with the new loan system, students will be financially better off, at least while they are studying. We also know that the increase in tuition fees has not had an adverse effect on applications to UG Programmes in other disciplines. We also know that under the current commissioning system, there are many more applications than places available for Health Professional Programmes.

It has been gratifying to see how proactive our students have been in their response to the review. Led by Daniel Brown the Faculty Officer they have debated the proposal at length, developed their own policy response, which was debated at SUSU Council of the 8th December. Their policy can be read here. A number of them also took part in the RCN protest on 2nd December and were disappointed by the unprofessional of some nursing colleagues (not FHS students!). They have included a reminder of the importance of behaving professionally at all time in their policy.

There is clearly a lot to consider and we will learn more about the impact of the changes as the detail emerges in the weeks and months ahead. However one thing is certain, our strategic aim to be a: ‘Faculty of all the talents and home to a world class environment that fosters improvement in health outcomes and transformation in the delivery of heath and social care’ is as pertinent as it ever was.

In the coming weeks and months Professor Sue Colley will be re-establishing the lunch time strategy meetings which will provide an opportunity for all members of staff to discuss and debate the changes, and shape our response.

There are exciting times ahead.

For further information please see below

Health Higher Education Reform: Initial Briefing for CoDH Members

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