Background The context of primary care in the UK is changing rapidly, underpinned by continuing policy drivers to ensure person-centred safe and effective practice. Undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for healthcare practitioners are increasingly using inter-professional education (IPE) as one route to engender greater understanding of others’ roles and contributions to health care, with the suggestion that IPE leads to better integration and teamwork, and thus stronger collaborative practice. Access to education and professional development for those working in primary care is difficult, and individuals need the focus of learning to be clearly relevant to their practice. Aims To review and debate the evidence on the role of work-based learning and IPE in enhancing collaborative practice in primary care. MethodLiterature search and critique of key papers relevant to primary care practice. ResultsThe three themes emerged of IPE, work based learning (WBL) and collaborative practice. There is a growing body of literature to support the positive outcomes of IPE and the utilisation of WBL in developing practice. A range of practitioners in a variety of work settings have used WBL approaches in the implementation of innovations and the development of communities of practice. However, little evidence exists to support these approaches in primary care. ConclusionThe application of WBL across primary care teams can support a positive and collaborative learning culture, resulting in changes to professional practice.
Shona Cameron, Ishbel Rutherford, Kristina Mountain