Students training to become paramedics, radiographers and physiotherapists will be among those benefiting from new £5,000 grants, ministers have announced.
The Government announced £2 billion plans in December for all new and continuing nursing, midwifery and many allied health students on pre-registration courses at English universities to receive a £5,000 annual maintenance grant from September 2020.
Additional payments of up to £3,000 will also be available for specialist disciplines – such as mental health – or regions which are hard to recruit to.
But ministers announced on Sunday that students on 11 allied health courses including occupational therapy, paramedicine and radiography will be eligible for the funding.
This is the first time paramedic students will benefit from additional NHS funding while at university, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “From paramedics to physiotherapists, radiographers to speech and language therapists – our talented allied health professionals are the third largest workforce in the NHS and support people to live better lives.
“As demand grows we need more of the best and brightest to join our NHS. I want those who would relish the job of saving people’s lives as a paramedic or diagnosing cancer as a radiographer to come forward to train, taking advantage of this fantastic new £5,000 support package.”
Allied health students studying dietetics, dental hygiene and dental therapy, occupational therapy, orthoptics, orthotics and prosthetics, physiotherapy, podiatry and chiropody, radiography, paramedicine, and speech and language therapy, or as operating department practitioners, are set to benefit from the scheme, the DHSC said.
The £2 billion funding package is expected to benefit around 100,000 pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health degree students every year.
The policy forms part of a Tory pledge for 50,000 additional nurses for England intended to underline the party’s commitment to the NHS.
The new system comes more than two years after the Tories scrapped free tuition and bursaries for nurses in 2017.
The previous system offered up to a maximum of £16,454 per student, per year, for those undertaking a full-time degree in nursing, made up of tuition fee grants, maintenance grants and maintenance loans.