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£1bn in contracts awarded for Healthcare Professional Pre-registration Education

Doctor with laptop

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has awarded over £1bn worth of healthcare professional education contracts for delivery over the next 10 years.

Over the last few months, HEIW has undertaken its largest commissioning process tendering and awarding contracts to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for the delivery of modern healthcare professional pre-registration education that meets the future needs of NHS services and patients in Wales.

The contracts, which supply a variety of courses across a wide number of disciplines, including adult, children and mental health nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, podiatry, speech and language therapy and biomedical science, will also support the workforce needs of health boards for the next decade.

More than just a procurement and tender exercise, HEIW undertook extensive stakeholder engagement and researched international best practice leading to several key themes being built into the contract specifications to meet the future healthcare needs of Wales. 

Those key themes include a more local / regional approach to healthcare professional education by delivery more education closer to or in all health board areas and in some disciplines offering part time education programmes. Emphasis has also been given to recruit students from disadvantaged areas of Wales and from hard to reach communities. The importance of the Welsh language has also been reflected in the contracts enabling students to learn and utilise the Welsh language. 

Chris Jones, Chair of HEIW said, “This has been a huge piece of work reflecting the importance of high quality healthcare education and patient care in Wales. The approaches to widening access and grounding training in our communities will equip our students to serve well the needs of the population going forward.

“Thank you to everyone involved including stakeholders who helped shape the contracts and in turn the future of healthcare education. We’re looking forward to working with Universities and Health Boards to bring this modern approach to life and equipping students with the skills, knowledge and experience to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.”  

Further All Wales benefits include,

  • Increased and strengthened placements opportunities in Primary, Social and Community care
  • Embedding technologies to enhance teaching, student support and placement preparation
  • Integrating the digital environment into learning
  • An enhanced approach to inter-professional education
  • More flexible and part-time routes across many professions and more parts of Wales
  • Closer Regional Collaborative Education Consortium working arrangements
  • Compassionate Leadership embedded in all pre-registration education

All HEI bidders have been made aware of the contract awards and are now in a “10 day standstill period” during which time they may challenge the decision and /or raise any queries. If there are no formal challenges received by the end of this period contracts will be issued to the successful bidders ready for education delivery to begin in September 2022.

Editors notes:

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) is a special health authority within NHS Wales. It sits alongside health boards and trusts, playing a leading role in the education, training, development, and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales.

Its key functions include education and training, workforce development and modernisation, leadership development, strategic workforce planning, workforce intelligence, careers, and widening access. Further information including full details relating to the outcome of Healthcare Professional Pre-registration Education Tender can be found on the HEIW website.