Wolverhampton University has stopped taking students on to its Specialist Community Public Health Nursing occupational health courses.
The move comes amid continuing concerns within the profession that OH courses are being forced to become too generalist to fit into the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s SCPHN framework.
Senior lecturer Bashyr Aziz has said he intends to create a new, “radically different” course from September next year, which may or may not be NMC-approved.
The intention is to have a multidisciplinary programme including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and rehabilitation specialists. Aziz also said he was becoming “increasingly concerned” that SCPHN-OH courses were not doing enough to keep up with the changing needs of work and society.
The move has led to calls from OH practitioners for a wider debate on the future of OH education, including whether the profession should now work to develop closer links with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, or even look to create a new faculty or college, as has been mooted by national director of health and work, Dame Carol Black.
Neil Loach, senior OH nurse at University Hospitals of Leicester, said: “If occupational health is going to be as important for the future as we believe it is, then it deserves to have its own faculty.”
The NMC declined to comment on the specifics of Wolverhampton’s decision, but pointed out that any student completing a course that had not been approved by the NMC would not be eligible to register as an SCPHN.