Reform of NHS student support

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19 / 8 / 2016 Midnight

The government has announced that from 1 August 2017 there will be changes to education funding for nursing, midwifery and allied health professional (AHP) students.  Health students will no longer have access to an NHS bursary or have the cost of their tuition paid for by Health Education England (HEE). Instead, students will have access to the same student loans system as other higher education students.

The government believes that replacing grants with students loans and abolishing the cap on the number of student places for nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects will enable universities to provide additional training places.  The reforms will not affect students who started their courses before August 2017.

The government ran a consultation on the reforms to which NHS Employers responded to on behalf of employers. Following the close of the consultation the government announced a number of measures to support nursing, midwifery and AHP students. 

These measures include:

  • support for childcare costs - there will be an additional payment of £1000 each year for students with child dependents to reflect that students undertaking clinical placements may have higher childcare costs than the wider student population
  • extra support for travel expenses and covering the costs of students who have to pay for secondary accommodation whilst attending clinical placements, if the case for educational provision and value for money is demonstrated
  • exceptional hardship - the government will work with experts to provide bursary payments in cases of exceptional hardship where students meet eligibility criteria
  • students who are planning to undertake nursing, midwifery and allied health professional subjects as a second degree will be able to access the standard student support system, on the same terms as students studying for a first degree
  • dental hygiene and dental therapy - until a long term funding solution is found for these subjects, the government will fund a capped number of dental hygiene and dental therapy students on the 2017-18 cohort on the same, non-repayable terms as the current system.

The student support arrangements for medical and dental students will not be affected by the reforms.  

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