Posted Friday 15 June 2012
The Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences is poised to play an even bigger role in educating the capital's nurses and physiotherapists after signing two major NHS London contracts.
The announcement means the Faculty, run jointly by Kingston University and St George's, University of London, will see a 6 per cent increase in student numbers and receive a significant boost in funding. It also paves the way for the launch of a new Master's in Physiotherapy, aimed at graduates eager to play a key role in the profession.
The Faculty is part of an elite group of education providers selected to offer nursing and physiotherapy training in the capital after a rigorous nine-month competitive tendering process. Bidders vying for the NHS London contracts had to demonstrate they could produce healthcare workers able to provide first class, compassionate care. They also came under close scrutiny for the quality of their degree programmes. NHS London last year became the first strategic health authority in England to set new standards for the selection and training of students in both subject areas.
Dean Professor Fiona Ross said the Faculty had always placed a strong emphasis on providing a stimulating and challenging learning environment for its students "Being awarded the contracts on the basis of the high calibre of the training we offer is a tremendous endorsement of our teaching, research and emphasis on inter-professional education. The outcome positions us firmly at the heart of improving healthcare in the capital," she said.
"It was clear from the start that these commissions would be based on quality not cost - so for the Faculty to secure two contracts means we did outstandingly well. The final decision, coupled with the fact that we have climbed to 14th place for nursing in the latest Complete University Guide - making us top in London, has really reinforced our reputation for top quality education."
Kingston Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg said the Faculty could be extremely proud of its contract and league table successes. "First class teaching, good leadership and a commitment to integrated learning, in which our students - the healthcare professionals of the future - work side by side with others from different disciplines, were all important features of the bids," he added.
St George's Principal Professor Peter Kopelman also described the outcome as a well-deserved result. "Adult nursing staff and physiotherapists play a vital role in meeting the ever-evolving demands of our national health service and there is growing evidence that higher levels of qualified staff are linked to better patient outcomes," he said. "Universities like ours are the very best place for this education to take place."
Professor Trish Morris-Thompson, chief nurse at NHS London, said being a nurse or physiotherapist took dedication, hard work and most of all compassion. "To meet the high standards our patients expect, students must possess the fundamental attitudes to care for people with empathy, dignity and respect. These students deserve the best standards of training.
"The preferred universities in London have all demonstrated the ability to meet rigorous criteria to improve the quality of training available," she added. "This includes having a tougher selection process to identify the right students with the right attitudes to become great carers. By raising our standards we can ensure these highly qualified professionals get the jobs they deserve and are a tremendous asset to the NHS."