Occupational Therapy Week OT's working with client

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed new guaranteed funding for allied health students, midwifery students and nursing students on courses, starting from September 2020.

Described as a “universal offer”, the students will receive a payment of at least £5,000 a year, which they will not need to pay back, to help with living costs. This additional support will be available to all new and continuing degree-level nursing, midwifery and many allied health students, starting from September 2020.

Allied health professionals (AHPS) provide system-wide care to assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors. Allied health professions refer to 14 different roles within the NHS including occupational therapists (OTs), physiotherapists, prosthetists and speech and language therapists.

The grant is expected to benefit more than 35,000 students every year and will help the NHS meet growing demands for treating an increasing number of patients.

All nursing, midwife and many allied health professional degree students will receive at least £5,000 a year with up to £3,000 further funding available for:

  • specialist disciplines that struggle to recruit including mental health,
  • an additional childcare allowance to help them balance their studies with family life, on top of the £1,000 already on offer
  • areas of the country which have seen a decrease in people accepted onto some nursing, midwifery and allied health courses over the past year

This means that some students could be eligible for up to £8,000 in total support per year.

The new package will supplement existing support available to pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students from the Department of Health and Social Care, including travel and accommodation costs for clinical placements, funding for students facing financial hardship and childcare support.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I have heard loud and clear that the priority of the British people is to focus on the NHS – and to make sure this treasured institution has everything it needs to deliver world-class care.

“The dedicated doctors and nurses epitomise everything that makes the NHS so revered across the world – skill, compassion, energy and dedication. At the heart of our manifesto was the guarantee that we will deliver 50,000 more nurses, and this new financial support package is a crucial part of delivering this.

“There can be no doubting our commitment to the NHS, and over the coming months we will bring forward further proposals to transform this great country.”

Welcoming the announcement, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has been calling for active measures to ensure future capacity within the occupational therapy workforce and says it looks forward to receiving further details from the Government in early 2020.

Students will also be able to continue to access the funding for tuition and maintenance loans from the Student Loan Company.

The measures will be part of the upcoming NHS People Plan which will set out work to reduce vacancies across the NHS and secure the staff needed for the future.

In addition, the Government recently announced that it will be increasing NHS funding so that by 2023/24, it will receive an extra £33.9 billion a year to deliver the NHS Long-Term Plan, providing more support to the Health Service.

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