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Strategic Support Fund

Delivering a transformed health service in England.

From Monday 24 February until Monday 9 March, Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and education providers are invited to apply for one-off funding of up to £100,000 for infrastructure development that supports the establishment of new courses for the following priority healthcare professions:

  • Pre-registration nursing, in all four disciplines
  • General practice nursing
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic radiography
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orthoptics
  • Podiatry
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Nursing associate
  • Midwifery
  • Dietetics
  • Operating department practice
  • Physiotherapy
  • Prosthetics and orthotics
  • Paramedics

Funding decisions announced at the end of March 2020.

This is an opportunity to increase NHS workforce supply where it is most needed, to deliver the vision of a transformed health service in England articulated in the Long Term Plan.

Please direct any queries to HEE at ssf@hee.nhs.uk

Orthoptics (Pre-registration) MSc

UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital are launching the UK’s first-ever pre-registration Orthoptics MSc on 12 January 2021.

Find out more about Orthoptics (pre-registration) Msc


Fund details

Application opening: Monday 24th February 2020

Application closing: Monday 9th March 2020

Awarded funds to be used from: 23rd March 2020

Awarded funds to be used by: 1st October 2021


The Strategic Support Fund was created to encourage the establishment of new courses for healthcare professions prioritised in the NHS Long Term Plan and People Plan, by funding the associated education infrastructure.

The following pre-registration courses are within scope:

 - Pre-registration nursing, in all four disciplines
 - Nursing associate
 - General practice nursing
 - Midwifery
 - Diagnostic and therapeutic radiography
 - Dietetics
 - Occupational therapy
 - Operating department practice
 - Orthoptics
 - Physiotherapy
 - Podiatry
 - Prosthetics and orthotics
 - Speech and language therapy

Applicants must be able to evidence their expenditure of awarded funding and be in a state of readiness to receive their first intake of new students by 1st October 2021 at the latest.

HEIs and other education providers are invited to submit any collaborative applications with local NHS placement providers, with funding to be allocated 75% to HEIs or education provider and 25% to their NHS placement provider. The maximum value of any awarded funding over eighteen months is £100,000.

Successful applications will reference local workforce intelligence, demonstrating an understanding of the local healthcare economy’s needs, labour trends and behaviours, and propose practical and innovative measures that respond to these factors. This may include innovative approaches to recruiting the right people; providing new career progression routes; creating a supportive learning environment; training a digital-ready workforce; building clinical placement capacity; and clinical placement activity.

Applications will also be evaluated for widening participation and timescale for implementation, with additional weighting given to those that can accept their first cohort within a shorter timescale.

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