'There's a real danger of permanent damage to healthcare education'

February 2, 2007

Steven West has spoken out against funding cuts in his new role as the champion of healthcare education.

Podiatrist Steven West has hit the ground running in his role as champion of healthcare education.

The deputy vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England has just become chair of the Council of Deans and Heads of UK University Faculties for Nursing and Health Professions. He warned that the National Health Service must restore student numbers and funding in the coming academic year to avoid a shortage of professionals in the near future.

The council, which has 88 member universities, attacked the recent raiding of education funding by strategic health authorities in England to offset NHS deficits. It would like to work with the NHS to develop the workforce needed for health and social care, Professor West said. "However, there is a real danger of permanent damage to the education infrastructure in healthcare unless student numbers and funding are restored in 2007-08."

Professor West succeeds Dame Jill Macleod Clark, head of Southampton University's School of Nursing, as council chair. As former dean of UWE's faculty of health and social care, he is the first council chair to come from an allied health professions background rather than nursing.

He studied podiatry at Paddington College of Further Education, then attended the Polytechnic of Central London and King's College London. He worked in the chiropody and research unit of the City and Hackney Health Authority before moving into higher education.

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