Government backs down over undergraduate funding

University physiotherapy courses are set to receive a financial bonus after the CSP and other allied health professional bodies successfully renegotiated an agreement for the funding of undergraduate courses.

Under the terms of the Benchmark Prices Review deal, funding for AHP courses in England will rise by 3.9 per cent from September, and courses with a dropout rate of less than 13 per cent, which includes almost all physiotherapy courses, will receive a two per cent funding boost. CSP chief executive Phil Gray said the deal, agreed between the Council of Deans of Health and the government, meant that universities would be spared any need to cut academic staff or reduce the number of students on AHP undergraduate courses, which were real fears after the Department of Health decided to ignore previously agreed arrangements. Pleading financial hardship, the DH called a halt to implementation of the original agreement in April, just five months before the new academic year would begin, and when the arrangements were due to be introduced. The CSP warned the DH that its action was likely to cause major disruption for universities, and following intense lobbying from a number of AHP professional bodies, a new deal was struck. Under the terms of the renegotiated deal, the two per cent ‘low attrition’ bonus will be subsumed into a ‘quality and innovation premium’, of up to five per cent that will be paid to universities from 2010. The details have yet to be agreed. Mr Gray said: ‘We’re very pleased that the Department of Health has thought again about its wholesale renegotiation of the benchmark prices review. The CSP, along with others, lobbied hard, and we’re pleased that the outcome appears to be favourable for physiotherapy, including the fact that the majority of physiotherapy courses should gain from the government’s aim of achieving low attrition rates.’
Graham Clews

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