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Health and social care

The Open University has the expertise to support and develop health and social care professionals within both large workforces and small specialist teams, to meet the needs of the integrated health and social care agenda in Scotland. We work collaboratively with a diverse range of organisations and employers across the country. Find out about successes for our learners and an award-winning partnership, as well as information on further resources.

Social Work

David, social worker

Many practising social workers in Scotland have been trained by The Open University. The Open University’s Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Social Work (Scotland) is approved by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and leads to registration as a qualified social worker.

Since our first degrees were conferred in 2009, we have had over 400 graduates. Of these, more than 100 had embarked on our degree as graduate entrants, like David (pictured right) - read more.

Examples for employers of different options to support students are available here.

In a new partnership, NHS Highland and Highland Council are sponsoring health care and council staff's studies to become registered social workers through The OU. The first scheme of its kind in the NHS, the students will be employed by NHS Highland as social workers in the same teams in which they currently work.

NHS highland logo

It is a statement of NHS Highland’s intention to invest in its workforce.

Janet Spence, Head of Care Services Improvement at NHS Highland

An integral part of the social work programme is undertaking practical learning in social work teams. This video highlights the benefits to teams of offering student placements.


Pre-Registration partnerships

Our Bachelor of Science (Hons) Adult Nursing and Bachelor of Science (Hons) Mental Health Nursing degrees include practice-based learning routes for those already working in healthcare.

We work in partnership with eight Scottish health boards to deliver our Scottish Government funded Pre-Registration Nursing (PRN) programme: Highland; Dumfries and Galloway; Orkney; Shetland; Western Isles; Borders; Ayrshire and Arran; Grampian.

This programme provides an ideal opportunity to nurture and develop staff within NHS Ayrshire and Arran to reach their true potential, by becoming exceptional registered nurses working within both Adult and Mental Health care settings.

Chris Rodden, Quality Improvement Lead – Professional and Improvement Education at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, pictured below standing fifth from right.

Keith Allan is a newly-registered nurse from NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Read his story.

OU staff  meeting with NHS, government and care provider colleagues in December 2016 for an annual review of The OU's pre-registration nursing programme in Scotland.The Scottish Government has agreed funding for a pilot linked to widening access and the remote/rural agenda that enables healthcare support workers, from the care home sector within the geographical areas of our partner Health Boards in Scotland, to apply for funded places on our pre-registration programme.

We are happy to discuss partnerships with employers in the independent sector to enable them to develop their staff to meet their needs.

OU staff are pictured above right, meeting with NHS, government and care provider colleagues in December 2016 for an annual review of The OU's pre-registration nursing programme in Scotland.

Other qualifications

The OU in Scotland also offers a Certificate and Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice for healthcare support staff. These are standalone qualifications, which may also be stepping stones to an application for a PRN degree. For qualified nurses who are not graduates, we offer a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Nursing Practice degree. Students on this degree, as well as the Certificate and Diploma, may receive employer sponsorship, or for information on potential funding support visit our fees and funding page.

Prospectus and further information

Download the Health and Social Care Scotland Prospectus for 2017/18 to learn more about our full range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, how OU study works, support available, plus the benefits of OU study for employers and students.

Find out more about The OU's work with the NHS and social care providers to train staff on the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies website. 

NHSScotland staff

The OU in Scotland is a contributing partner of NHS Education for Scotland (NES). NHSScotland staff can also access information on relevant courses, qualifications and pathways on a portal. These are grouped according to job category: Business and Admin; Estates and Facilities; Clinical Support Worker.


Contact us

Jackie Baker
Head of Business Development
(Scotland and Ireland)
07879 680667

Request your prospectus

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus