Midwifery jobs set to be saved

A new deal between UEA and regional health chiefs looks to have saved jobs at the university's School of Nursing and Midwifery.

A new deal between UEA and regional health chiefs looks to have saved jobs at the university's School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Up to 20 posts were under threat in a funding shortfall, amid fears that students' education and training would be adversely affected.

The East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has now signed an agreement, which the UEA says will help ensure the long-term stability of the university's School of Nursing and Midwifery. It means only four full-time equivalent posts are set to be axed.

UEA says additional funding from the SHA for continuing professional development, together with some staff changes in the school, have kept the number of compulsory redundancies down. However, posts have been lost through staff resignations, stopping secondments from the NHS, voluntary reduction in hours and voluntary redundancies.

Dean of Health at UEA Professor Peter Kopelman said: "Any job loss is a profound disappointment to the university. However, it is pleasing that we have been able to mitigate the overall immediate number of job losses through careful management - the starting point for the process was a financial need to lose in excess of 20 full-time equivalent posts.

"We believe that the outcome of the process has ensured that the School of Nursing and Midwifery will continue to deliver the highest quality of training for our students."

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Kate Guyon, head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said colleagues, particularly in local NHS trusts, had given great support.

"We will build on this close relationship with the NHS to enhance even further the training opportunities for our students and to develop an effective research capacity," she added.

Stephen Welfare, Director of Workforce at NHS East of England, said: "We are committed to developing a strong working relationship with UEA who have an excellent track record of educating and training healthcare professionals.

"We believe this new contract, which guarantees that there will be no reduction in the overall number of higher education courses commissioned for the next five years, provides a superb opportunity to help develop the healthcare workforce that the NHS needs locally."

Andrew Blakesley, chairman of the Nursing and Midwifery Student Council at UEA, was involved with other students to help save posts at the school.

He said: "I am pleased with the outcome. I feel sorry for the four people who will lose their jobs but we originally feared there would be 19 when we started out campaign. If we have saved 15 jobs, that is fantastic and students will now feel much better about continuing their studies."

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