Allied Health Professional student bank employment, 10 February 2021 - letter from Suzanne Rastrick OBE
For student AHPs seeking more information following the letter from Suzanne Rastrick OBE (10 Feb 21):
- We advise you seek approval from your university or education provider before signing up for bank hours to ensure this will not disrupt your learning, which remains your priority
- For any queries about signing up for additional employment (opportunities, payment, when, where and how) please direct these to your NHS organisation. All of these optional, additional hours are provided through local bank arrangements.
Allied Health Profession students are advised that placements continue as planned. Please do not pause or cancel any placements. In addition, for students who wish to volunteer, this should be undertaken separately from your planned placement.
HEE is continuing to support the wider system in delivering vital services, but also need to fulfil our responsibility to look after our trainees and meet their educational and training needs.
Thank you to all students, academics and clinical staff supporting students in placement during the pandemic. Our priorities during this challenging time are the education of student allied health professionals, supporting their learning and maintaining the workforce supply line.
Universities and placement providers will undertake an individualised risk assessment before any placement and ensuring that wellbeing support is available. Students will have access to the same testing and vaccinations as NHS staff. We are working together to support current students through their programmes, we will monitor placement hours and resolve issues to ensure that students progress.
Over this time, we will also repeat the COVID-19 pandemic student survey to ensure that your experience and feedback is captured and that we continue to learn.
Position on use of AHP students for COVID-19 vaccinations
We have a clear position that AHP students will not be considered as part of the workforce to deliver a mass vaccination programme.
Our priority is to maintain student education programmes to ensure a future workforce is available to meet the growing demands of the health and social care system. Where clear learning objectives and quality assurance are in place, practice placements in vaccination centres may provide a short term, suitable learning environment for AHP learners. This should contribute to the student’s programme completion, and Regional Heads of Allied Professions or Regional AHP Leads are able to advise further where required.
Student AHPs may choose to work as bank health care support workers or health care assistants (HCAs) and provide vaccinations (assuming adequately trained and supervised) outside of the academic and practice placement components of their student programme.
Essential worker role
The Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for Education has confirmed that for the purposes of essential travel to clinical placements and in the event of any future need for accessing keyworker places, healthcare students on placement can self-declare as essential workers.
As set out above, students on clinical placement within a Trust will also be classed as ‘essential’ for the purposes of testing and have clear and accessible testing routes available when symptomatic, according to where in the NHS their placement is. In addition, healthcare students undertaking clinical placements will be included in testing decisions undertaken by the host Trust on the asymptomatic testing of NHS staff.
Further details on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#list-of-essential-workers-and-those-prioritised-for-testing-england-only
Am I covered by the life assurance scheme?
The NHS & Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme provides additional financial protection for frontline staff who are employed to deliver care for people and work in environments that carry an increased risk of contracting Coronavirus. The scheme pays a £60,000 tax-free lump sum.
Eligibility for this payment is work-related and requires the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to be satisfied that coronavirus was contracted in the course of performing duties.
Clinical placements are governed by formal agreements between universities and the host organisation. Healthcare students are therefore covered by the scheme rules as eligible individuals, just like other frontline NHS staff.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Like all other NHS staff, the level of PPE required by students on placement will vary according to the role and setting. Placement providers will ensure that students have access to appropriate PPE and the relevant training throughout their placement.
Any concerns with a PPE product should be reported through the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) yellow card scheme for medical devices, and for other types of PPE where the issues are not resolved locally, they should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) through their Concerns and Advice Team.
MHRA yellow card scheme: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
HSE Concerns and Advice Team: https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm.
Vaccination of Frontline Health and Social Care Workers - NHS England and NHS Improvement have published additional operational guidance on the immediate requirement to vaccinate frontline health and social care workers ensuring maximum uptake of vaccination and timely, equitable access across staff groups including students and trainees.
The annual flu vaccination programme has now commenced, and it is an important part of protecting ourselves and others from the risks of flu. We recognise that some students will fall into the eligibility criteria and have a vaccination through their GP. For others, it is important that they are protected and in turn protect patients from the risk of flu. We know that HEIs will work with local placement providers to ensure that students on placement are able to have a flu vaccination in the way substantive staff are.
You will be informed when information on the Covid-19 vaccinations becomes available.
Students requiring extensions to their studies
We know that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic some students have experienced unavoidable delays to their studies. We are committed to ensuring that students receive the financial support they need in order to graduate and any student who is concerned should discuss this with their HEI who can advise on the process for applying for additional funding through the NHS Business Service Authority where appropriate.
Further detail of the support available can be accessed:
For the NHS Learning Support Fund at https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-learning-support-fund/learning-support-fund-coronavirus-covid-19
For the NHS Student Bursary at https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-bursary-students/nhs-bursary-students-coronavirus-covid-19
Returning to Practice during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge impacts on the healthcare workforce, and we want to make sure we support registrants and applicants through this as far as possible - take a look at the HCPC website for information and support.
If you have received a letter from the HCPC please follow their instructions. This will allow you to be temporary registered and practice under protected status. For those who wish to return to the register later, you will need to follow the HCPC RTP guidance.
It is still possible to return, support and provide your skills even though not registered with the HCPC by visiting the NHS website.
If you wish to RTP over the next year by using the HCPC guidance please continue visiting the pages.
South West – Carrie Biddle: email@example.com
North East and Yorkshire - David Marsden: firstname.lastname@example.org
North West - Naomi McVey: email@example.com
Midlands - Helen Marriott: Helen.Marriott@hee.nhs.uk
East of England – Ganesh Baliah: Ganesh.Baliah@hee.nhs.uk
London – Laura Leadsford: firstname.lastname@example.org
South East - Rebecca Tyrrell: email@example.com