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Solent University, Southampton is supporting Universities UK's Powering the NHS campaign.

30th October 2023
Homepage - News - Featured

In support of the Universities UK (UUK) Powering the NHS campaign - which is calling for significant changes to healthcare education and training to support the Government's plans to strengthen the NHS - Solent University is proud to highlight some of the ways in which it is educating the next generation of healthcare professionals and driving innovation.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan (LTWP) was published by the UK Government in June 2023, with the aim of addressing NHS staffing shortages across three key pillars: train, retain and reform.

The plan's success however, hinges on a joint endeavour between education and healthcare providers. UUK says a number of challenges still need to be overcome if the LTWP is to meet its objectives, including a need for higher education to expand health education capacity, and for a culture shift to take place within the NHS to place more value on students and educators. 

Solent University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Knowles, says: "We fully support the recommendations made by Universities UK to transform healthcare education in this country. With the right conditions, universities like our can provide the talent, expertise and technology needed for the NHS to thrive for decades to come."

UUK is setting out a five-point plan to meet the objectives of the LTWP:

  • Boosting student recruitment
  • Increasing the number of educators
  • Investing in new facilities and infrastructure including new technologies
  • Increasing placement capacity
  • Improving learner experience and reducing attrition

From innovative nursing labs to tackling health inequalities, here are a few ways in which Solent University is already supporting the objectives of the LTWP. 

A funding boost for real world training

In 2022, Solent was awarded £4,339,500 of capital funding by the Office for Students to expand and modernise its facilities and enhance real world learning experiences. As part of this, a bespoke Nursing Lab - featuring a six-bed ward and community care rooms - which simulates acute patient care in healthcare environments, has been expanded to attract the next generation of healthcare talent and address the national lack of training placements.

Solent's Provost, Professor Syamantak Bhattacharya, says: "By investing in specialist facilities and equipment, the University will provide a practice-based learning experience that meets industry standards and enhances students' experiences."

Fresh eyes raise mental health awareness 

Solent's TV Production students have worked in partnership with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to produce short films focussed on raising awareness of mental health. Erasing taboo and starting conversation, the films explore themes including gambling, men's mental health and young carers.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Steve Tomkins, says: "All the videos will have saved countless lives and I'm eternally grateful to the students for the work they have done."

This partnership has also supported student wellbeing with participant, Alex Atkinson, crediting the opportunity for being "really informative and eye-opening" and saying, "people need to hear these stories."

Pioneering research progresses Parkinson's treatment

Dr Shelley Duncan has been working with colleagues at the University of Kent to develop new, non-pharmacological treatments for Parkinson's disease that will be explored within a new specialist clinic. 

The Parkinson's Centre for Integrated Therapy (PCIT), will be the UK's first non-drug integrated therapy clinic for Parkinson's disease, led by David Wilkinson, Professor of Psychology & Director of Division Human & Social Sciences at the University of Kent. He says, "Shelley has played an instrumental role in helping us understand how non-invasive brain stimulation can improve physical and mental wellbeing in Parkinson's disease. Her work will bring significant benefit."

Personalising cancer care

Researchers at Hampshire universities are leading a new project to enhance and personalise care for cancer patients. The Personalised Assessment in Care and Cancer (PACC) Project is a new framework for responding to the individual needs of people experiencing cancer. 

Developed by academic and healthcare professionals at Solent University and the University of Southampton, the PACC is being trialled in Portsmouth and Dorset to support patients with social, financial and emotional care. Designed to enhance individualised care, the PACC is working to improve patient pathways and provide wraparound care for those in need.

Powering care in the community with person-centred approach

Researchers at Solent University and the University of Southampton are optimising the connection between carers and patients with a new person-centred tool.

Aiming to support healthcare professionals, the Chat&Plan tool was designed to promote personalised care in older adults with complex conditions. A new study on the use of this tool has recently been funded by NIHR ARC Wessex and is led by Solent University's Dr Teresa Corbett, Senior Lecturer in Psychology. 

Focusing on person-centred approaches, the tool will help carers to put patient needs first and involve them in decisions about their care, as well as support the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. 

Learn more about Solent's Health Sciences degrees and courses here.