Lack of meaningful consultation could lead to disruption in Health Science courses
Without meaningful consulation, the cuts and changes at the Ulster University will have unforseen consequences for courses, staff and the communities they serve. A colleague from Health Sciences has highlighted how moving Allied Health Professional (AHP) courses from the Jordanstown to Coleraine campus will have a disruptive and damaging impact up their teaching.
“The new Belfast campus was designed with AHP courses in mind. We contributed to the planning and design of bespoke facilities for our students. Will facilities like a practical room, speech and language facilities, OT rooms etc be provided in Coleraine?
“The Belfast site gives students access to clinical placements – our students undertake approximately five placements of six weeks each across the physio programme, although placement duration varies in the different programmes.
“Most clinical placements will be difficult to access for students from Coleraine. Students will either have to travel some distances or will be required to find accommodation. It is impossible to get short term lets in Belfast during the semester time. I’ve tried with international students! I have a real concern that we are placing students in a situation where they will be required to drive excessive distances .”
There are concerns regarding research also.
“Post-REF we were informed that collaboration with other institutions was essential, but moving the AHP professions miles from the main sites of medical research in The Belfast Trust, QUB, and the specialist services such as oncology, respiratory, is not going to facilitate that.”
Teaching will also be impacted upon.
“In the delivery of AHP courses it is essential to have the support and input from specialist clinical colleagues into the undergrad programmes. This is difficult enough with the pressures on clinical colleagues but the move to Coleraine will render this impossible .
“Likewise having patient involvement in the undergrad programmes, although difficult enough to arrange and facilitate at Jordanstown, the move to Coleraine will again make this virtually impossible since most patient representative groups are based in Belfast .”
Our colleagues says, “As I understand it there has been no discussion with clinical colleagues in the health service prior to this announcement .”
The consequences for technical staff on the courses also seems to have been overlooked.
“Our technical staff do not have flexibility in employment, for them a 9.00am start means a 6.20 train from Belfast, with train fares in excess of £250 per month”