Paramedics, physiotherapists and other Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) play a pivotal role in patients’ care and in helping to deliver our NHS Long Term Plan

The Allied Health Professions – for example paramedics, physios and speech therapists – are some of the most rewarding careers available, so it was great to hear the government demonstrate such a strong commitment to the AHP community by providing additional financial support.

In December 2019 the government announced that, from academic year 2020/21, many new and continuing student AHPs, nurses and midwives would receive a new financial support package to help with living costs.

Healthcare students in these disciplines on eligible pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate courses at English universities, will benefit from an annual maintenance grant of at least £5,000 in the 2020/21 academic year, with up to £3,000 additional funding for students in certain areas, specialisms or with childcare responsibilities.

The government also confirmed that, for the first time, paramedic science students will be able to benefit from additional NHS funding whilst at university, recognising how important they are to be delivering the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan in a wider variety of clinical settings.

The government had previously advised that additional payments of up to £3,000 will be available for students in areas which are struggling to recruit, or to help students with childcare costs.

They have now confirmed there will be an additional £1,000 per academic year for students with childcare responsibilities and another £1,000 a year for new students on one of these pre-registration degree courses:

  • Mental health nursing
  • Learning disability nursing
  • Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Prosthetics and orthotics
  • Orthoptics
  • Podiatry

It’s great to see the government taking these grants seriously and targeting the funding support where it is particularly needed.

Students studying the following pre-registration allied health degree level courses are set to benefit from the funding:

  • Dietetics
  • Occupational therapy
  • Operating department practitioner
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics and prosthetics
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Diagnostic radiography
  • Therapeutic radiography
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Paramedicine

This funding will support ambitions to grow the AHP workforce that we have been developing as part of implementing the interim NHS People Plan, to meet the future requirements of health and care set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Suzanne Rastrick

Suzanne Rastrick is Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England.

She qualified as an occupational therapist in Oxford in 1986, and began her career in the acute hospital sector, moving to practice in community and primary care where she then gained her first general management role.

Suzanne was one of the first allied health professionals to hold a substantive Director of Nursing post, and has since held these roles in both providing and commissioning organisations in the NHS. She has also been Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust Cluster, and achieved authorisation for a large Clinical Commissioning Group with an integral commissioning support unit.

She has a Non-Executive portfolio in the commercial and not-for-profit housing sector, and sits on a number of national groups including NHS Employers Policy Board, Health Education England AHP Advisory Group, and England Centre for Practice Development National Advisory Board.

Suzanne was appointed as Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for NHS England on 1 September 2014. This role also has key professional leadership relationships to the Department of Health as well as to Health Education England.

Follow Suzanne on Twitter: @SuzanneRastrick


  1. Sally says:

    Can I ask will there be any reimbursements for students studying between 2017-2020? As a third year physiotherapy student I have paid over £9000 a year… sandwiched in-between fully funded courses and the new financial support funds.

  2. Dawn Stewart says:

    worrying teenage mental health and the long waiting lists for people to see a psychologist, obviously hasn’t made an impact, as those in training for this role are not entitled to the £5k. Such a shame, and a huge deterrent to those who want to make a difference. #psychology

  3. Cath says:

    This is great news to help attract to the professions where there difficulty recruiting. Shame it’s not medical students too with the NHS holding so many Doctors vacancies.
    How will this payment be made? Is it a one off? Do students apply?

  4. Karen Smith says:

    Are student osteopaths included?

  5. Laura Bunce says:

    Hello, I am a first year pre-registration masters physio student. Most articles suggest that the bursary will be for eligible undergraduate students, but is there any insight as to whether masters students such as myself would also benefit from the bursary?

  6. DB says:

    Are you going to address the fact that ODP’s have only been awarded this grant for level 5 courses? Despite the fact that most training provision (and the future) being at level 6 and level 5 being phased out. It certainly doesn’t reflect the direction the profession is going in. It will be detrimental to level 6 qualified ODP’s entering the profession.

  7. Jessica says:

    Please can you let me know how this will help the people who did not receive the nhs bursary and have had to survive on student finance alone for the past two years! I will finish my masters in OT in January 2021 so will I qualify for this or not? It seems very unfair if my year group do not get refunded this support as the NHS has done nothing to support us through our degree even though I have been working for the NHS for 3 years before applying for my masters and been working long shifts as a HCA for NHS professionals alongside my full time 2 year masters just in order to have money to survive.

  8. Rachel says:

    What about medical students who will accrue £70k+ debt over 5 years training and are in wards weekly providing care for free? If you want to retain staff, show that you value them . I am bankrolling my son through medical school, others aren’t so fortunate. Part time extra work impossible with their timetable