NHS staff shortages will include radiographers

Academics are warning that radiography and nursing degree courses may be at risk of closure as they struggle to attract and retain enough students.

An “at risk” list of university courses has been drawn up by The Council of Deans of Health. The problems stem from the removal of the student bursary in 2017. The courses include: radiography, mental health nursing, learning disability nursing, podiatry and prosthetics. The list also includes orthoptics, which is the provision of devices such as splints, braces and helmets, which help people recover from injury.

The NHS already has staff shortages in these areas and without a pipeline of students in training the situation will get much worse. Last month nine out of 10 hospital bosses in England said the shortage of nurses and doctors across the NHS is now so severe that patients’ health could be damaged.

The Guardian reports that one of the key problems, according to the universities, is that since the removal of the bursary, it is much more difficult to attract older learners. Mature students are a core market for health subjects but these students now think it is unfair to pay £9,250-a-year fees for nursing and allied health students, when they spend half their course on 37-hour-week unpaid work placements in the NHS.

Full story in The Guardian, 10 December 2019