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HEFCE funding announced for new programme to raise awareness of allied health disciplines

HEFCE funding announced for new programme to raise awareness of allied health disciplines.


The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has announced the launch of a new programme to increase awareness of allied health professionals and to support and improve the sustainability of delivery of smaller, specialist, vital health disciplines experiencing difficulties with student recruitment or retention.

The Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) programme is funded by HEFCE, and is expected to run for three years, starting in 2017-18, with a budget of £1M per year.

Four key health disciplines will be the focus of the programme: prosthetics and orthotics, therapeutic radiography, orthoptics and podiatry. HEFCE together with the professional bodies and higher education leads from the four disciplines have been working on the development of an innovative new programme to improve the sustainability of delivery of these vital health disciplines. 

The programme will include the development and delivery of a national communications and marketing campaign and the coordination of an outreach network. Outreach and communications officers will be based with partner organisations (at Higher Education Institutions or professional bodies), and will work as a network to share and develop best practice. There will also be a challenge fund offering higher education providers with finance for innovative approaches to delivering or recruiting to their courses and the programme will also facilitate work-shadowing facilities specifically in orthoptics, and fund a co-ordinator to develop work placements and apprenticeships in prosthetics and orthotics.

The College of Podiatry (CoP) is a key partner in the programme, and will develop, deliver and manage the communications and marketing campaign and co-ordinate the outreach network, via a funded programme team, while the programme will be overseen by a board which includes the professional bodies, Health Education England (HEE), the Council of Deans of Health (CoDH) and Universities UK.

Ed Hughes, Head of Health and Medicine at HEFCE, comments: ‘HEFCE is very pleased to be able to provide a range of support for higher education in these small and specialist disciplines, which will help maintain the pipeline of healthcare professionals in these areas to meet the future needs of students, healthcare providers and patients.’

Steve Jamieson, Chief Executive of The College of Podiatry commented: ‘I’m delighted that we will be working closely with colleagues at HEFCE and at our partner organisations to develop and deliver this innovative and significant programme. Raising awareness and building understanding of these vital health disciplines is critical if we are to continue to attract students and so ensure the future health skills mix required to meet the needs of patients.”

Find out more about the programme here: www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/healthcare/sihed 


The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) aims to ‘create and sustain the conditions for a world-leading system of higher education which transforms lives, strengthens the economy, and enriches society’.