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Chief Nurse's Blog

Chief Nurse’s Blog

Date of release: 6 October 2020

Latest News: Ann-Marie Cannaby Blog

In this week’s blog I bring you exciting news of our successful bids to the Clinical Placement Expansion Programme (CPEP) to boost our student placements.

Last month RWT had two bids accepted by Health Education England (HEE) – one to increase nursing and midwifery student placements and one to increase selected allied health professions (AHPs) student placements.

This will allow us to increase the amount of placements offered to nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy students. We are aiming to increase placements by a minimum of 25 per cent, in line with the NHS Plan.

HEE wrote to directors of nursing and midwifery and AHP leads at NHS trusts in June to invite bids from clinical placement providers to HEE’s CPEP.

The aim of the £10m funding was to increase the number of placements offered to nursing, midwifery and selected AHP students from September 2020 and to enable HEE to deliver the future health and care workforce in sufficient numbers, and with the skills the NHS needs.

In August, HEE announced £15m would be made available through its CPEP to increase clinical placements in the NHS and support growth in nursing, midwifery and AHPs. 

This represents a 50 per cent increase in the funding previously pledged, as the response received from organisations expressing their desire to provide placements for more students was far greater than HEE had imagined.

The funding was broken down as follows:-

  • £8.2m towards an additional 7,000 nursing and midwifery clinical placements across all regions
  • £5.8m towards an additional 3,800 allied health profession placements concentrating on the prioritised areas, such as placement education facilitators, with a further £1m of that investment focused on sustainable technologies.

Now our bids have been accepted, we intend to explore and pilot new placement models, whilst embracing new service models brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will be looking to expand available placement areas everywhere, but specifically in community primary care settings.

The plan is for more undergraduate nurses and physiotherapists to have a high-quality experience in the general practice setting, which for nursing, will support the 10-point action plan for general practice nursing (NHS England, 2018).

Vertical integration (VI) – where hospitals acquire GP practices – offers a unique opportunity to redesign services from initial patient contact (for example, First Contact Physiotherapy) through on-going management and end of life care.

That means as a single organisation it is far easier for us to send student nurses and student physiotherapists to the 10 GP surgeries that are part of RWT than if they were all separate practices, as they used to be prior to VI being introduced.

I spoke to two colleagues, Cath Wilson, Head of Education – Nursing, and Ros Leslie, Chief AHP, about the development.

They are convinced placements are a key part of a student’s learning. Furthermore, they say RWT is committed to increasing placement capacity, improving student experience and giving students vital skills for the delivery of future health care.

They are excited to be working directly with local universities to support placement expansion and thereby ensure growth of the future workforce pipeline.

Finally, I would like to welcome back our student nurses and student AHPs, who will be returning to RWT between now and February. 

We have 377 new student nurses and more than 100 student physiotherapists that have been recruited at local universities for RWT placements soon. I wish you all well as you start your career with RWT.

Take care,

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham