Contribution of academic departments of general practice to undergraduate teaching, and their plans for curriculum development.
BACKGROUND. In 1991, the General Medical Council suggested the development of a new undergraduate curriculum, on a 'core plus electives' basis. The combination of National Health Service reforms and the rising profile of academic departments of general practice had led to a consideration of general practice as an alternative teaching environment. These departments now face escalating expectations from their medical schools of their ability to provide additional community based teaching. AIM. The aim of this study was to investigate the present contribution of academic departments of general practice to undergraduate teaching and their plans for curriculum development, including the introduction of community-based clinical skills teaching. METHOD. A questionnaire was circulated in June 1993 to all academic departments of general practice in the United Kingdom and Eire. RESULTS. Twenty seven out of 28 questionnaires were returned. Twenty two departments provided pre-clinical teaching and all provided a clinical practice attachment. Eight medical schools were organizing community-based clinical skills teaching, and in two this formed the basis for a community-based medical attachment. Eight planned to reduce the factual content of their curricula and introduce problem-based learning while nine were contemplating a 'core plus electives' option. Fourteen medical schools had primary care input in teaching basic clinical skills and an additional seven planned to introduce this. Problems encountered by the general practitioner tutors in teaching clinical skills included insufficient time and resources and poor self-esteem; they identified a need for good central and peripheral organization. CONCLUSION. Compared with a 1988 study, academic departments of general practice are increasingly involved in teaching both general practice and general medical skills at undergraduate level. Curriculum change is occurring rapidly, with an increasing trend towards community teaching; the implications for both academic departments and general practitioner tutors are discussed.
Robinson, LA; Spencer, JA; Jones, RH
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