Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Interprofessional education and teamworking: a view from the education providers

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 04 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1138
  1. Janet Finch, vice chancellor
  1. Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG

    Based on a presentation from the Millennium Festival of Medicine

    There will be new joint training across the professions in communication skills and in NHS principles and organisation. They will form part of a new core curriculum for all education programmes for NHS staff…. A new common foundation programme will be put in place to enable students and staff to switch careers and training paths more easily.1

    We believe it is important that the NHS … should work with higher education providers and accreditation bodies … to develop education and training arrangements which are genuinely multi-professional and which will enable students to transfer readily between courses without having to start their training afresh.2

    These bold—and wholly laudable—statements are taken from two major documents published in the year 2000 on the future of the health service. The strength of the statements, and their inclusion within these two important documents, highlights the central role now being accorded to ideas of multiprofessional and inter-professional education in the development of the “new” NHS.

    How is this to be delivered? To deliver on these aspirations, the NHS depends wholly on the ability of the education providers—universities and higher education colleges— to comprehend, embrace, and then provide interprofessional training. It is important therefore that education providers are an active part of this debate.

    Summary points

    Universities and colleges are eager to work with the health service but require greater clarity about health service objectives

    Different types of education provision are required, depending on which of the four versions of “interprofessional” is being advocated

    Learning in clinical as well as classroom settings may hold the key

    Clarity about definitions

    The first and most obvious point is the need to be clear about objectives; in turn that means being clear about definitions. In the health literature the terms “multiprofessional” and “interprofessional” …

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