After bids entered by the Local Enterprise Partnership, Coast to Capital, which were supported by Chicheste4 MP Gillian Keegan, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government have decided to invest in the establishment of a new School of Nursing and Allied Health at Chichester University’s Bishop Otter Campus in the city.
The project is subject to full business cases and approval and relevant governance arrangements, but plans are in place for the new school to be developed in an existing building that adjoins St Richard’s Hospital. The facility will host simulation rooms, mock wards, specialist facilities as well as teaching space.
It is expected the school will be taking on students from the autumn of 2021 and will have the capacity to teach around 200 students per year, as well as providing 24 new jobs.
Mrs Keegan said: “I am delighted by this announcement as it will help us close the skills gap locally across the health sector. Covid-19 has emphasised just how critical well trained and dedicated health professionals are.
“Deepening links between the University and the Hospital Trust is excellent as it will provide students with a unique insight into the world they are entering, and in turn, the hospital will be able to shape their next intake of nurses and health professionals.”
Professor Jane Longmore, vice-chancellor of the University of Chichester, welcomed the news. She said: “This is an extremely positive development for Chichester and its region. The University has a proud heritage of training students for the professions and we look forward to the development of a new School of Nursing and Allied Health working closely with Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and other Trusts across the region. We are now working on the full business case submission for approval by Coast to Capital.”
Chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dame Marianne Griffiths, said: “Our nurses are the bedrock upon which our delivery of outstanding care is founded. They are highly skilled, dedicated and compassionate professionals and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring their training in-house in partnership with the University of Chichester at a new School of Health and Social Care located at St Richard’s Hospital.
“This significant investment in the future of the profession in West Sussex is excellent news for our patients, the communities we serve, as well as all our staff and local health and care partners. We cannot wait to welcome the first undergraduates next year.”