The viability of running degree courses for nurses has been raised by the former President of the Health and Social Care who's asked why it's been capped at 17 students.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby has also asked how any delay to the second phase of building work at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital will impact on that, and other training courses, delivered by the Institute of Health and Social Care.
The former Health boss asked the Health and Social Care department a number of Rule 14 questions centred around the islands nursing degree course following recent details released in response to previous questions asked by Deputy Gavin St Pier.
Pictured: Deputies Heidi Soulsby and Gavin St Pier.
With her prior knowledge of how HSC manages its training courses, Deputy Soulsby said she was moved to find out more when learning that the nursing degree course is currently limited to just 17 candidates.
"I was prompted to ask the questions following the responses to Deputy St Pier’s questions about the numbers taking the nursing degree course. I was surprised to find out that these were limited to about 17 due to the need to have sufficient staff to be able to provide support in the workplace. This is not something that has ever been mentioned before. As such, I wanted to see what the costs associated with the different courses are."
The island's nursing degree course is run by the Institute for Health and Social Care, which comes under The Guernsey Institute. Other comparable courses run by The GI include a teacher training degree course and the degree in Health and Social Care Practice.
A Masters programme is also taught locally with bursaries available for students undertaking work placements while completing any of these courses.
Pictured: One of the questions Deputy Soulsby asked, and the response.
Deputy Soulsby said her concern is that the nursing degree course has been capped at 17 candidates per year, which then raises further concerns about its costs and the way it is run.
HSC said the course has an annual budget of £1,264,265 including bursaries for the 42 students in total on the course. There are currently three cohorts of 14 students, receiving 2,760 hours of tuition.
12 students graduated from the nursing degree course in 2022, with between seven and 10 students graduating each year since 2018 meaning the course costs £90,305.00 per student over the lifespan of the three year course, including their bursary.
Deputy Soulsby suggested it could be more viable to run the courses with more students so the costs per hour are lower per student.
"Clearly it is not a cheap course to run, even with overheads not being allocated to it, and never will be if the numbers are capped at such a low level," she said.
Pictured: Phase 1 of the PEH redevelopment is nearing completion, but there are question marks over Phase 2.
With the funding for Phase 2 of the hospital redevelopment in the air, Deputy Soulsby has also asked how the courses will be taught in the future.
Currently, the Institute for Health and Social Care Studies uses space at the PEH. Under the planned creation of a new Guernsey Institute campus at Les Ozouets, the classroom based learning will be carried out there, with practical placements continuing at the hospital.
"The hours of lecturing seem low given the number of staff and this supports the anecdotal evidence of the area being used by the Institute for Health Social Care Studies seeming to be less than fully utilized. It therefore makes sense that Phase 2 of the hospital modernisation envisages its move from the PEH and the vacated space being devoted to the care of patients."
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