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Department of Health offers money to help new physio students meet placement costs

21 December 2016 - 12:55pm

Physiotherapy students who start degrees in England next year will be able to apply for financial support to meet the costs of compulsory clinical placements, according to the Department of Health.

Physio student funding review must safeguard entry to the profession and workforce supply, CSP chief tells ministers

Students on clinical placements may be eligible for finacial support to cover their expenses

In a policy paper published on 15 December, the department sets out how new students will fund their studies from next August. It confirms details of additional funding sources to meet the costs of placements and supporting dependant children, and announces details of a severe hardship fund for healthcare students.

Eligible students may be able to access the following

  • non-repayable grants of £1,000 a year if they have child dependants
  • exceptional support of up to £3,000 a year in the case of severe hardship
  • support for excess travel and dual accommodation expenses incurred by attending practice placements

Government reforms mean that from August most nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students in England will no longer have their university fees paid, or receive NHS bursaries. Instead, they will have access to student loans.

CSP seeks further details

Elsewhere, the paper explains that students entering MSc pre-registration physiotherapy programmes in 2017-18 will still have their fees paid and have access to NHS bursaries. Funding arrangements for students entering MSc programmes in the following years have not yet been confirmed.

Sally Gosling, the CSP’s assistant director of practice and development, welcomed the paper. ‘It’s essential that applicants and programme providers have this clarity, particularly given that the deadline for undergraduate student applications is in January.

She told Frontline: ‘The CSP will continue to pursue clarity in areas where further information is needed. This includes future funding arrangements for individuals embarking on postgraduate routes into the profession – a route that is very well-established and valued within UK physiotherapy.’

The paper states that NHS bursaries will not be offered automatically to students who applied to join a courses that began this year and but then deferred to next September. Their reason for deferring will be crucial.

Ms Gosling added: ‘We will also be pressing for monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the funding changes, including from the perspectives of entry to the profession from all parts of society, education quality and workforce supply.’

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