Interprofessional education: a UK perspective.
In, 13th International Health Workforce Collaborative 2011, Brisbane, AU,
24 - 26 Oct 2011.
International Health Workforce Collaboration.
To review the development of interprofessional education (IPE) in the United Kingdom (UK) it is necessary to appreciate that the UK is made up of four countries: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England each with its own health and education policy although health professions are currently regulated at the UK level. For all four countries, meeting future health and social care needs is a critical need that will require the development and introduction of new roles in and across health and social care, new ways of working and as a consequence changes to the kind, content and delivery of education and training. The development and implementation of IPE in the UK therefore requires not only strategic cross-profession agreements but also understanding of the differing labour market challenges and realities within and between the four UK countries.
It is evident that some progress has been made across the UK at a pre-qualifying level with the development of common learning for students from a range of health and social care professions. Programmes for qualified staff often aim to attract participants from a range of disciplines. However despite concerted efforts IPE appears still be somewhat on the margins and evidence of impact is difficult to find at scale.
Rather than promoting IPE or not, maybe the questions for the next decade should be: what are the health and social care needs, what are the skills required to do this work, what therefore should the workforce look like and how should it be prepared. As Wanless (2002) noted “although the number of health care professionals is important for the capacity of the system, arguably the way the workforce is used is even more important”
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