How is London Higher’s project funding for healthcare and medicine projects making a difference in the capital?

Here at London Higher it’s our second year of offering project funding, and we have been actively thinking about the difference we can make in the capital. It has been my pleasure to manage the bids this year and I am excited to say that we have some excellent projects which we will be funding this year. The fund is from our LHEG and LMED groups which support nursing, midwifery, allied healthcare and medicine. Whilst these may not be multi-million-pound awards, they are about supporting innovative healthcare education projects, which are designed and delivered through collaboration amongst the capital’s higher education institutions and various partners.   

London is home to just under 10 million people, coming from a rich diversity of ethnic groups. We boast some of the best universities in the world, and a range of growing and immensely successful industries. We also see some of the highest levels of poverty in the country. This offers us the opportunity to take forward initiatives which have the potential to help change this not only locally, but nationally. 

A spotlight on the successful projects 

One of the projects receiving funding focuses on supporting disabled students. The number of disabled students entering higher education is increasing, and there is an increasingly strong focus on mental health in institutions, in particular for groups such as disabled students. Due to the range of disabilities, visible and invisible, there are different types of support needed for each person and in different settings and situations. There are also important nuances to consider in terms of how people identify themselves and their disabilities, and sometimes this may complicate the process of asking for help. This is why a project looking to improve the experience of disabled health students is very welcome. The project will look at a group of London students, consider both academic and practice placement settings, and engage with staff to understand what they need in order to understand the needs of these students and consequently be able to provide a good response. 

The second project is focused on the pre-preceptorship stage of support for undergraduates. So, what does that mean? Preceptorship is about integrating newly registered nurses, midwives and other similar practitioners into their teams. The stage prior to this is about supporting education and decision making through a period of preparation. This is aimed at boosting the confidence of these undergraduate students, exposing them to different experiences and thinking about the teams they will want to join. The project plans to use virtual reality settings called ‘interactive worlds’ to allow for a greater breadth of experience. The project will focus on the development of VR programmes in areas like clinical practice, research and leadership, allowing for diverse settings and diverse people. I love to think that technology can be used in such a constructive way to change the way we teach and learn and am excited that London South Bank University in partnership with others will really help to do this.   

The third project is focused on GP trainees. The Interprofessional Reflective Practice Project was started a few years ago, as a collaboration between the City, University of London Counselling Psychology training programme and the Guy’s GP Specialist Training Programme. The idea is that trainee Counselling Psychologists will facilitate reflective practice groups for GP trainees. With so much talk about burn-out and retention, hopefully this type of system will make a difference. Some preliminary results suggest that it is highly valued by both groups of trainees and it could change things for the better for GPs for the future. We will fund the evaluation and analysis, aiming to determine if it helps with resilience and understanding, and interprofessional learning experiences for both groups of trainees.   

From acorns, oaks grow.  These are small, targeted initiatives, but with the power to be transformative, and where better to try this than in London?    

This blog has been written by Jolanta Edwards, Director of Strategy at London Higher.

You can read the press release on the funding awards on our website.