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Strategic review of undergraduate education

Two pharmacists studying

Update June 2021

We are very pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the all Wales pre-registration healthcare professional education tender. This is the largest commissioning process we undertake and is worth over £1bn in the next 10 years.

On Monday 28 June 2021, Universities were informed of the contract awards and we entered a “10 day standstill period”. During this period bidders may challenge the decision and /or raise any queries they may have with regards to the outcome of the tender exercise - this is a legal requirement of procurement regulations.  Provided no formal challenges are received, at the end of the standstill period (12 July 2021) we will formally issue the contracts to successful bidders ready for education delivery to begin in September 2022.

Below we have summarised the key themes and potential benefits of the new education contracts for health boards plus in Annex 1 a full list of the contract outcomes for each programme.

  • Delivery of a more local / regional approach to healthcare professional education commissioning bringing the delivery of education closer to or in all health boards in Wales
  • Dispersed and Distance Learning Nursing programmes enabling flexibility of learning and placements close to home.
  • For AHP’s and Healthcare Science All Wales and South East Wales provision has been diversified to, where appropriate, create part time education provision and develop additional programmes moving away from single providers for Wales where numbers allowed.   
  • The will be greater focus on closer partnership working and collaboration between the NHS Wales, HEI’s and HEIW.  By recruiting higher numbers of local students who understand the local population and community needs, and are able to maximise undertaking their academic learning and placements more locally, it is envisioned there will be more opportunities for NHS Wales to fill vacancies from Welsh University graduates.

Emphasis has also been given to recruit students from disadvantaged areas of Wales and from hard to reach communities, whereby a financial incentive is incorporated to enable greater support to those students from the lowest Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation communities in Wales. 

The Welsh language is of great importance and the new contracts have specific Welsh language requirements for HEIs as well as additional measures supporting our student body to learn and utilise the Welsh language. 

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

Thank you
The review of undergraduate healthcare education in Wales and subsequent contracts has been a great example of partnership working at its best. Together we have shaped the future of healthcare education in Wales ensuring we are providing students with the education they need, as well as organisations and patients with a workforce capable and confident in delivering excellent care. We are very grateful to all our partners and colleagues who have worked with us on the review and contracts.

The Future
We are looking forward to working with partners over the next 12 months on the implementation phase of the contracts and thereafter on the delivery of high-quality pre-registration healthcare professional education in Wales. 

Going forwards, we are also working on phase two of the strategic review of healthcare education for Wales including developing contracts for healthcare support worker education and a range of postgraduate programmes.

HEIW Health Professional Education and Training Services (Phase 1)


Lot Name


Successful bidder

Nursing (Adult, Child and Mental Health)

1a Cardiff and Vale including Velindre (Full Time Only)

Cardiff University

1b Cardiff and Vale (Full Time BSc/BN, Part Time BSc/BN, PG Dip/MSc)

University of South Wales

1c Aneurin Bevan Full Time Only

Cardiff University

1d Aneurin Bevan and Powys Full Time BSc/BN, Part Time BSc/BN, PG Dip/MSc

University of South Wales

1e Cwm Taf Morgannwg

University of South Wales

1f Swansea Bay

Swansea University

1g Hywel Dda North

Aberystwyth University

1h Hywel Dda East, South and West

Swansea University

1i BCU West

Bangor University

1j BCU Central/East

Wrexham Glyndwr University

1k BCU Central/East (teaching across C&D and Wrexham)

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Nursing Learning Disability

2a North Wales

Bangor University

2b South East Wales and Powys

University of South Wales

2c South West and West Wales

Swansea University

Dispersed Learning: Nursing (Adult and Mental Health)

3a Powys

Bangor University

3b Hywel Dda

Swansea University

Nursing (Adult, Child and Mental Health)

4 Distance Learning

Bangor University


5a South East Wales

Cardiff University

5b South East Wales and Powys (2 outputs)

University of South Wales

5c South West Wales

Swansea University

5d North Wales (2 outputs)

Bangor University

Occupational Therapy

6a South East Wales (Full Time BSc, Post Graduate Diploma/MSc)

Cardiff University

6b South East Wales (Part Time BSc)

University of South Wales

6c South West and West Wales

Swansea University

6d North Wales and Powys

Wrexham Glyndwr University


7a South East Wales (Full Time BSc, Post Graduate Diploma/MSc)

Cardiff University

7b South East Wales (Part Time)

University of South Wales

7c South West and West Wales  (Full Time BSc, Post Graduate Diploma/MSc)

Cardiff University

7d North Wales (Full Time BSc)

Wrexham Glyndwr University

7e North Wales (Post Graduate Diploma/MSc)

Bangor University

Diagnostic Radiography

8a South East Wales

Cardiff University

8b South West and West Wales

Cardiff University

8c North Wales

Bangor University

Radiography and Oncology

9 All Wales

Cardiff University


10 All Wales

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Speech and Language Therapy

11a South, West and Mid-Wales

Cardiff Metropolitan University

11b North Wales

Wrexham Glyndwr University


12a South, West and Mid-Wales

Cardiff Metropolitan University

12b North Wales

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Paramedic Science

13a South, West and Mid-Wales

Swansea University

13b North Wales

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Biomedical Sciences

14 All Wales

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Operating Department Practice

15a South East Wales and Powys

University of South Wales

15b South West and West Wales

Swansea University

15c North Wales

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Dental Hygiene and Therapy

16a South, West and Mid-Wales

Cardiff University

16b North Wales

Bangor University

Physician Associates

17a South, West and Mid-Wales

Swansea University

17b North Wales

Bangor University

PTP Healthcare Sciences

18 All Wales

Swansea University

There are a few courses that will not be delivered by the same providers namely, the Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) degree in Cardiff University and the nursing Distance Learning Degree in the Open University.  Whilst there will be no new cohorts of these students the current students will be supported to registration.  The experience and quality of learning of these students is of the utmost importance and we will work closely with both Universities and Health Boards to ensure students have a safe and quality education graduating as registrants, on time, to work within Wales.

Please direct any queries in relation to this procurement to

Update November 2020

Having received Ministerial approval, the contract specifications and invitation to tender documents for health professional education have officially been issued. We are now out to tender on the largest commissioning process we undertake in HEIW.

Update August 2020

At the market engagement day held on 11 October 2019, HEIW set out its proposed vision for NHS Wales’ new professional education contracts. The information provided at that event reflected the strategic review of health education undertaken by HEIW and its appointed advisor (KPMG) over the preceding twelve months.

At the event and in the months following, HEIW undertook further engagement with all key stakeholders, including, interested education providers, local health boards, patients and students. As part of our stakeholder engagement, we asked all interested parties to challenge us on the merits and feasibility of our proposed contract specification and proposed service model.

We have taken on board the comments we have received to date from our key stakeholders. These comments have helped us to shape further our proposals, including making some proposed changes that better reflect the needs of education providers, students, service and patients which we intend to propose in the upcoming final engagement in September.

Proposed procurement timetable

  • October 2020 - OJEU Notice to trigger procurement
  • Late December 2020 - Bid submission
  • August 2021 - Contract commencement
  • September 2022 - New education programmes commence

We have set out our proposed procurement timetable above but appreciate that this may change given these unprecedented times in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Should the proposed timetable change, we will, of course, notify the marketplace together with our other key stakeholders.

High level engagement

September 2020

HEIW will be holding a virtual stakeholder engagement event in September for potential interested bidders. This event will replace the roadshow events that were due to take place around Wales in March 2020 that were unfortunately cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This event will therefore be an opportunity for HEIW to share the updated key themes and strategy to all potential bidders prior to launching the procurement process.

A pin notice has been published via sell2wales to advertise the opportunity of the event.

Update 29 May 2020

As a result of the impact of Coronavirus we have been forced to postpone the original timetable for the tendering of the Health Profession Education Contracts.

This was originally due to take place in May/June 2020. It can be confirmed that based on the updated timetable for the tender process the go-live date continues to be September 2022.

Update 19 Mar 2020

Due to the current Covid-19 situation HEIW & NWSSP have decided to postpone the final market engagement events that were due to take place at the following venues:

  • North Wales – Tuesday, 17 March 2020 – Venue Cymru, Llandudno, LL30 1BB
  • South Wales – Friday, 20 March 2020 – Life Sciences Hub, Cardiff, CF10 4PL
  • West Wales – Wednesday, 25 March 2020 – National Botanic Gardens, Carmarthen, SA32 8HN

We will be in contact to re-arrange the events in the coming months.

HEIW commissions a wide range of health professional education provision such as nurse, physiotherapy and speech and language undergraduate training. The current contracts are due to expire in July 2021. In preparation for this and the awarding of new contracts, we have been reviewing what we need the new contracts to cover to ensure healthcare education meets the needs of patients and services in the future.

As part of this review, and to ensure the contracts best fit with these needs, we engaged KPMG to independently advise on future education provision and configuration. To inform their work, KPMG engaged with 36 organisations and in excess of 120 individuals. Thank you to everyone who took part in the engagement.

In October, ahead of the final report, KPMG shared with us the emerging key themes from the review. These include: the ‘lotting’ of the education based on population needs across Wales, different models of delivery including distance and dispersed learning, specific inter-professional requirements and changes to the support for students in placement settings.

KPMG have now issued their final report which includes 22 recommendations. These along with the key themes identified will shape the new health professional education contract in Wales focusing on:

  • HEIW developing its role in supporting newly qualified staff
  • Further develop a strategic role in placement provision
  • Local / regional approach to commissioning where appropriate
  • Building resilience in the system
  • Using technologies to enhance teaching, student support and placement preparation
  • Integrate the digital environment into learning
  • Develop education and training across the whole career pathway
  • Establish an enhanced approach to inter-professional education
  • Developing flexible routes
  • Closer tripartite working arrangements between HEIW, Health Boards and Universities
  • Improve responsiveness to Service Need/ WG Policy
  • Supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Dispersed Learning
  • Clinical Leadership

We are currently working through the report to identify where work is already being undertaken in relation to these themes and whether we need to do any further work. Once this has been carried out we will be sharing our finds and the report with the HEIW Board and stakeholders.

Further stakeholder events are also planned with potential interested bidders, health boards and trusts, and students from all universities to ensure the new education contract reflects shared priorities and is developed in partnership.

Forward look

January 2020

HEIW to meet with students to update them on the key themes and gather their feedback on the themes.

March 2020

Procurement engagement events prior to the launching of the procurement process to present the final undergraduate health professional education strategy to all potential bidders.


Key members of the project team are listed below:

  • Stephen Griffiths - Nursing Director
  • Martin Riley – Head of Education, Commissioning & Quality
  • Chrissy Love – Deputy Head of Education, Commissioning & Quality
  • Denise Parish - Education Contracting Manager
  • Dawn Baker Lari - Education and Improvement Manager
  • Gemma Roscrow – Senior Category Manager, Procurement Services

For any further information regarding the procurement of this contract, please contact Gemma Roscrow or Francesca Havard-Evans alternatively for HEIW enquiries please contact Martin Riley

N.B. In August, the Welsh Government announced it was extending the NHS Bursary for a further year while it considers longer term funding arrangements. As a result of this, we took the decision to extend the timescale of this review. The procurement process for the new contracts will now start in May 2020 to allow time for the outcome of the NHS bursary review and any changes to the funding system which may affect the tender specification.

At the end of November 2019 the Welsh Government announced a further extension of the NHS Wales Bursary package for an additional two cohorts for the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 academic years. This announcement provides certainty that for the next three academic years, Wales will continue to fund and support its future NHS workforce.