A primary care skills centre: The first year of an innovative enterprise

V. Wass, S. Bell, R. Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background. In 1997, the opportunity arose to establish a primary care skills centre in inner-city London with facilities for multiprofessional teaching and training in clinical, communication and computer skills. Aim. To evaluate the experience of establishing the centre and its use in the first year. Method. The educational philosophy behind the centre, management structure used and lessons learned are described. Records were kept of all visitors to the centre from 1 May 1997 to 31 April 1998. All courses were evaluated using a standard evaluation form. Activity was analysed to compare usage by different groups and their demands for skills facilities. Results. A multiprofessional management structure, flexible and adaptable use of space and awareness of and response to local needs proved important. Of 5340 visits, 61% were by primary healthcare team (PHCT) members: GPs (40%), nurses (5%), practice managers (4%) and receptionists (11%); 35% were by undergraduate medical students and 5% by dentists. Of the courses provided, 54% were for GPs: the majority were seminar based (75%). Information technology (IT) and skills facilities were used by 20% and 5% of the primary care courses. Undergraduates mostly used the clinical skills (41%) and communication skills (43%) teaching facilities. Use by other members of the PHCT was relatively small. Only 1% of all teaching sessions were interprofessional. The centre was very positively evaluated as a venue for both undergraduates and postgraduates. Conclusions. Availability of flexible skills training facilities for PHCT members has created an effective teaching venue. A skills centre can successfully combine undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. However, whereas undergraduates had a readily perceived need for using the facilities, clinical skills training for GPs needs organization and promotion. The evaluation has also highlighted difficulties encountered in actively developing multiprofessional teaching. More educational research on interprofessional training is needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14-20
    Number of pages6
    JournalEducation for General Practice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Article
    • Clinical Education
    • Communication
    • Computer
    • Education Program
    • Evaluation
    • Experience
    • Human
    • Interpersonal Communication
    • Medical
    • Medical Student
    • primary care
    • Primary Medical Care
    • RAU
    • Research
    • Skill
    • Students
    • Teaching
    • Training
    • United Kingdom


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