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London physio training provider loses contract

20 January 2012 - 5:27pm

University physiotherapy courses are set to close after NHS London named its ‘preferred providers’ for training physiotherapists and adult nurses.

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University of East London - Docklands campus - photo ©UEL

The University of East London (UEL) will no longer receive funding to run its physiotherapy programmes, following the strategic health authority’s move to introduce a competitive tendering process for training providers.

The overall number of university places for physiotherapy in the capital will be cut by 13 per cent. The cuts to adult nursing training places are much higher.

Tendering outcome

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) involved were told about the outcome of the tendering process on 16 January. The impact will be felt straight away with the changes due from the next academic year.

But arrangements will need to be made for current students to complete their degrees, said Sally Gosling, CSP assistant director of practice and development.

The move is not expected to be replicated in other regions.

A UEL spokesman told Frontline: 'As the first university to offer physiotherapy as a degree programme in what are some of the most advanced teaching clinical facilities in London, we will do our utmost to ensure our long history of offering physiotherapy at UEL is protected.'

CSP chief executive Phil Gray said he was deeply concerned. ‘NHS cuts are already affecting patients. The CSP is urging NHS London to maintain current numbers of student places so that there are enough qualified physiotherapists to meet the needs of Londoners now and in the future,’ he said.

‘Deeply saddened’

And he said the society was ‘deeply saddened that NHS London proposes to close the established physiotherapy courses at the University of East London’.

‘The university has been notable for its efforts to support students with a disability to enter the physiotherapy profession.’

The three HEIs that will continue to provide physiotherapy training in London are Brunel University, King’s College London, and Kingston University/St George’s University of London.

Support for students

Ms Gosling said the CSP was working to support staff and students at UEL as a matter of urgency and to highlight the need for better workforce planning.

‘We will also seek to work with all London HEIs to ensure smooth transition arrangements and that applicants accepted to study physiotherapy in 2012/13 have a positive experience as they enter a qualifying programme,’ Ms Gosling added.

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