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Cardiff Met healthcare hub offers new vision for healthcare delivery

The next generation of health practitioners are learning their craft at a sector-leading health hub at Cardiff Metropolitan University following a £1.3m investment to create a collaborative clinic space across multiple health disciplines which will deliver both NHS and private healthcare services.

The Allied Clinical Health Hub at the University’s Llandaff campus sees students across Dietetics, Podiatry, Speech and Language Therapy, Healthcare Science, Clinical Psychology and Dental Technology work symbiotically from one dedicated space where they are taking responsibility for actively organising and delivering care for patients, supported by practice supervisors.

This week, Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, attended a tour of the facilities at Cardiff Met along with senior leaders from Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board and Health Education and Improvement Wales.

The dedicated space for multiple health disciplines will offer students exposure to real world learning opportunities where patient care will crossover between the healthcare provisions delivered on site. For patients, the hub aims to improve their experience by reducing waiting times between referrals to other health teams and creating a seamless journey from team to team, while also alleviating pressure from local health boards.

This could involve, for instance, a patient with diabetes being treated for a foot wound within the podiatry clinic and being referred on to the dietetics team to manage their blood sugars and then to clinical psychology to discuss their wellbeing – without long waiting lists between referrals and travel between clinics.

The £1.3m investment by the University, which includes nearly £400,000 of capital grants funding from Welsh Government allocated via Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), means students are learning in state-of-the-art facilities on campus. These include a day case operating theatre; a full suite of podiatry services; NHS-standard consultation rooms for dietetics, psychology and dental tech patients; simulated pathology labs and inpatient/outpatient areas; a training kitchen; a virtual reality suite and a speech and language therapy clinician area.

Katie Thirlaway, Dean of the School of Sport and Health Sciences at Cardiff Met said: “The Allied Clinical Health Hub is a new way of delivering healthcare which rethinks how our health programmes can work collaboratively in one dedicated hub. We have professions learning from, with and about each other in a multidisciplinary setting.

“This means at the end of their degree, we’ll be producing practitioners who are well prepared to work inter-professionally thanks to a dedicated learning space that sees students work authentically with patients and each other from the second term of their first year of study.

“Being able to serve our local community and support the health and wellbeing of people across south Wales is a commitment we have made as a University. We are excited to make a positive contribution to reducing waiting times and helping people to stay well and out of hospital.”

The facilities have caught the attention of neighbouring Cardiff University which is working with Cardiff Met on an interprofessional placement exchange which will see students from its School of Dentistry study at the Allied Clinical Health Hub during their degree. Cardiff Met will also be offering placement opportunities for Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy students within the hub, which will in turn allow Cardiff Met’s health sciences students to learn directly from Pharmacy students.

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