Queen’s University Belfast has this week launched its revised undergraduate medical school curriculum (C25), which gives students greater exposure to general practice and community-based care.
Queen’s University has been working hand-in-hand with General Practices all over Northern Ireland to increase the amount of curriculum time spent in primary care. Currently, this stands at about 13% – the national average. In the new curriculum it will rise to 25% of the programme.
Welcoming the introduction of the new curriculum, RCGPNI Chair Dr Laurence Dorman said: “We are delighted to see the new C25 curriculum launched this week. From September 2020, new medical students studying in Northern Ireland will experience greater learning opportunities in primary care and receive a more integrated educational experience across community and hospital environments.
“For years, the Royal College of GPs in Northern Ireland has been calling for students to get greater exposure to general practice and community-based care, and we are pleased to see this come to fruition.
“The Health & Social Care transformation agenda highlights the importance of caring for patients in their own homes and the new curriculum is a vital component in this. C25 will help reforming our health and social care system by ensuring tomorrow’s doctors have the necessary skills to deliver care to patients in the community, wherever possible.
“I am confident that the more time students get to spend in general practice, greater numbers will choose to train to be GPs. The workforce challenges in general practice have been well documented over the years, and our future workforce starts with students who choose to study medicine.
“While today is a day for celebration of the efforts and commitment of colleagues to get us to this point, the challenges ahead cannot go unmentioned. Facilitating the increased scale of learning in GP practices requires additional capacity, both in GP time and in physical space to accommodate more students. Capacity has been an ongoing issue for general practice and the pandemic has only exacerbated these pressures. The College continues to urge the Department of Health to support new models for educating students at scale, so that we can together achieve the mutually desirable outcome of having enough highly educated, excellent doctors to care for the people of Northern Ireland in the future.”
Launching the curriculum, Professor Neil Kennedy, Director of the Centre for Medical Education at Queen’s, said: “We have worked closely with our partners to ensure that the C25 curriculum addresses the changing needs of our healthcare system and enables our doctors of the future to deliver the best, patient-centred health care for our population, which has always been at the core of Queen’s medical teaching.
“The curriculum provides students with significantly greater exposure to general practice and community-based care, and we welcome the support from RCGP colleagues to help make this an excellent learning experience.”