AECC University College is embracing the crucial role it has to play training the health professionals who will care for patients in the future and at the same time, playing a pivotal role in the health of the community it serves.

Building on its heritage of being the first chiropractic training college in Europe dating back to 1965, four years ago the seat of learning based in Boscombe near Bournemouth became a fully independent university college with powers to award its own degrees..

At the helm is Vice Chancellor and CEO, Professor Lesley Haig and she explained their independence allows them to fully realise their potential.

“Over the years we have seen our campus grow and the breadth of curriculum expand to meet the growing healthcare needs of our population.

“Where there are gaps and training needs in the local and regional healthcare workforce, we have been able to step in and increase the training we can offer to healthcare professionals,” she said.

AECC University College is working in partnership with the NHS and has expanded its education and training provision to include diagnostic and therapeutic radiography and physiotherapy, with occupational therapy and speech and language therapy courses under development, and others in planning. Many of the new courses provide accelerated masters routes for graduates wishing to take up a second career or train as a healthcare professional.

Recently AECC University College has been awarded £2.7 million from the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the government’s Getting Building Fund to create a new rehabilitation facility on site and support their new developments.

“We will be delivering new courses and services in an integrated way by a range of professionals, centred around students and patients in our incredible new facility. This will add to our existing clinical and imaging services onsite and allow us to work with people who are struggling with everything from the effects of a stroke to sports injury, back pain or Long Covid.

“There is a huge national need for rehabilitation highlighted by the Community Rehabilitation Alliance, a group of around 50 charities and professional bodies committed to increasing access to rehabilitation services to help people live well for longer.  Pandemic-permitting the new facility should open in September 2022 and we look forward to providing high-quality integrated rehabilitation services and to making a difference to the lives of our patients and communities” said Lesley.

She is particularly aware of the important role AECC University College has to play to support the needs of the wider Integrated Care System, and is working closely with colleagues in the NHS, primary care, BCP Council and community partners in Bournemouth and Dorset to enable local people to access the services on offer.

“Dorset has one of the oldest populations in the country and we are keen to develop our community focus so we can support the needs of our local population” she said.

report published by Public Health England in August this year highlighted the negative impact of Covid-19 on activity levels of older people, leaving them more vulnerable to frailty and falls. Recommendations included referral of at risk older adults to appropriate rehabilitation services.

Becoming a Business South Champion is an important part of Lesley’s desire to promote the services and facilities at AECC University College to a wider audience across the Central South region.

“We are keen to shout about what we do and where we are. Early intervention is so important and by offering the right treatment at the right time in our wonderful facilities we can make such a difference,” she added.

Find out more about AECC University College here.