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Quality: everybody’s business

Hugh Barr PhD*

Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow, the University of Westminster, UK and President, the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education, London, UK

Corresponding Author:
Professor Hugh Barr
Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education
PO Box 680 Fareham PO14 9NH, UK
Email: [email protected]
 
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Interprofessional education (IPE) is dedicated to the improvement of education, practice and outcomes for patients,[1] as paper after paper in this issue exemplifies. It is a tangible recognition that professional education for medicine, health and social care, notwithstanding advances made, falls short in creating the collaborative workforce needed to effect improvements unless and until the professions learn with, from and about each other.[2]

No one profession can respond adequately to the demands of today’s practice, least of all in primary care where more and more services are located, as the dependency needs of individuals, families and com-munities escalate, fuelled by social and economic dis-ruption and, in many countries, ageing populations. To respond by reorganising services is not enough without also generating opportunities for workers, across the professions, to compare the implemen-tation of policies for their respective roles and re-lationships, and prepare for new responsibilities.[3] Methods are being invoked, notably appreciate inquiry to help them recall good practice to motivate change,[4] and collaborative inquiry[5] and continuous quality im-provement[6] to engage members of the professions systematically in reviewing, revising and improving services.

Lessons learned are being fed back into pre-regis-tration IPE where outcomes are now enshrined in value-laden, competency based frameworks designed to drive up standards in education and practice for the next generation.[79] The quality of IPE must indeed be raised to that of the best, for example, by preparing teachers for their facilitation role,[10,11] devising inno-vative models for practice learning,[12] exploiting ad-vances in educational technology[13] and working with education commissioners and regulators to build requirements for IPE into those for professional education.[14]

Resources contract as patient and public expec-tations rise. IPE, with its relatively high costs for small group learning, is vulnerable as educational budgets are cut, but safe so long as it continues to demonstrate that it is part of the solution rather than the problem in delivering effective health and social care in straitened times.

Peer Review

Commissioned; not externally Peer Reviewed.

Conflicts of Interest

None.

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