The minister for public health Jo Churchill has announced that orthoptic and other healthcare students will benefit from new financial support in September.

A £5,000 maintenance grant that does not need to be paid back is being made available each year to new and continuing students in addition to existing financial support, such as student loans.

An additional £3,000 payment is available to eligible students, which includes £1,000 for students who are studying a shortage specialism that is important to the delivery of NHS England’s Long Term Plan. The Department of Health confirmed that orthoptics is considered a shortage specialism.