Skip to main content

Undergraduate primary care teaching at Imperial College London

The Department’s Undergraduate GP Teaching Unit consists of over 25 staff with course leads, teaching fellows, and administrators. It is led by Dr Sonia Kumar, Director of Undergraduate Primary Care Education and Dr Jo Harris, the Deputy Director. It is one of the most active and innovative teaching teams in the Faculty of Medicine, with around 300 community GP teachers providing teaching for hundreds of students every year and it achieves some of the highest feedback ratings from students in the Medical school. And there are exciting developments on the horizon.

Across all years, the GP Teaching Unit delivers about 13% of the entire undergraduate medical curriculum. Core GP-based teaching is focused on two three-week attachments in years 5 and 6, basic history-taking and examination skills in year 3, and a chance to follow patients early on in year 1 in the First Clinical Attachment. The Department also leads on teaching on clinical consultation skills, using video and simulated actor patients in state of the art communication skills suites and plays a key role in the Year 5 PACES examinations. Students rate their GP teaching extremely highly. Dr Sonia Kumar says, “Feedback scores are consistently among the highest of any teaching in the medical school. Students say they particularly value the close attention they get in general practice, where teaching is often one-to-one or in small groups, and students can get to know their GP teacher over several weeks”.

To deliver consistently high quality teaching to up to 400 students in each year is a major logistical challenge. The department depends on a highly efficient administrative team, led by Jenna Mollaney, to co-ordinate all the placements with several hundred GP teachers, based anywhere from Hammersmith to The Isle of Skye. The course leads make ensure the courses run smoothly; delivering department-based teaching, checking student assessments and feedback, and supporting any students (or teachers) in difficulty.

The GP Teaching Unit is also extremely active in teacher training. They run a range of training courses for GP teachers in the community as well as teacher observations. The newly recruited faculty development lead, Dr Aisha Newth will further strengthen these links between the Department and its wealth of Community teachers. The Department also organises two main conferences every year--an annual GP Teachers Conference and Faculty of Medicine Conference--for keeping up to date and refreshing teaching skills for GPs and consultant colleagues alike.

Feedback scores are consistently among the highest of any teaching in the medical school. Students say they particularly value the close attention they get in general practice, where teaching is often one-to-one or in small groups, and students can get to know their GP teacher over several weeks”.

GP teachers in the department regularly welcome visiting colleagues from around the world and play a significant role in the development of the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore, in the RCGP's work in China, and with teams of teachers hosting visits of Chinese doctors. They also visit China to run training courses in clinical communication skills; and have advised on primary care policy issues in a number of countries.

The Department is also involved in postgraduate training, supervising 6 Academic F2 (AF2) doctors a year, and up to 4 academic ST4 GP Trainees. In addition, it is rapidly expanding its medical education research programme under the leadership of Dr Graham Easton, with a focus on evaluating new and existing teaching, and wider dissemination through publication and national conference presentations. Dr Easton will also be the GP representative on the Medical Education Ethics Committee.

The NHS is currently undergoing its biggest change and challenge since its inception in 1948. Health services and increased responsibility are being shifted very purposefully into the hands of GPs and this will have a direct impact on how medical education will be delivered in the future. The GP Teaching Unit at Imperial has already been developing some ideas, Dr Poonam Chouhan, one of four Clinical Teaching Fellows, has helped to develop a cancer care in the community workshop, following the patient journey from diagnosis to treatment. The team are also working on a pilot attachment with their Dermatology colleagues, and we are also interested in the Longitudinal Clerkship Model from Harvard, where medical students experience patients and conditions as a continuum rather than the traditional block approach using Primary Care as a base.

We are very excited by what lies ahead and what our GP teaching team can offer Imperial’s medical students.


Popular posts from this blog

North Yorkshire GP Trainee Fellowship

’Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’’
It was after squeezing into another packed London tube on a Friday evening that I saw the email ping into my mobile phone. ‘Cumbrian and North Yorkshire GP Trainee Fellowships for ST3s.’ The opportunity to transfer your training for 4-6 months in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, a quick google of Saltburn- by –the- Sea and I was instantly sold.
I transferred my training from ( Imperial GP Speciality Training Scheme- Marylebone Health Centre) to ( Durham and Tees Valley VTS- Huntcliff Surgery, Saltburn) in April, and have loved every minute. My Practice Huntcliff surgery was a stone’s throw from the beach, and a short drive to the breath taking North Yorkshire Moors.
Work life balance is emphasised by the practice and I have been able to find time to join a running club, Tai Chi and walk every day. I’m cycling to home visits and enjoying a much more outdoor lifestyle.
I’m also really enjoying working in a close knit community; it’s not unus…

Congratulations to Usama Syed

Usama Syed, a final year medical student in the Faculty of Medicine, was selected for a 2015 Imperial College London Outstanding Student Achievement Award. These awards are to recognize and commend outstanding achievement beyond the academic subject area.  Usama was nominated for his award by the Department of Primary Care and Public Health.

Usama's achievements include:
Founding a new society at the College - MedTech Imperial- designed to bring together students across the medical, engineering, and computing departments, With colleagues coding a brand new mobile phone application designed to streamline the way front-line hospital staff provide feedback and quality improvement ideas to senior medical directors. Researching and writing articles for the official Imperial College website on medical topics for public release.Editing a newsletter for a Health Centre in Clapham, London. In this role, he has written numerous articles for local residents on topics such as travel safety an…

UK-Japan GP Network - Review by Yuko Ota, 3rd year GP trainee

Thanks to Dr. Maham Stanyon and her connection with the UK-Japan GP Network, I was delighted to visit Imperial Primary Care Department in April. As a Japanese GP trainee being exposed to primary care in the UK, every single day was filled with surprise and I would like to share some of my thoughts on your newsletter.
Abington Medical Centre/Crown Street Surgery
This was my first occasion to visit UK surgeries and I was amazed by how differently we work as GPs in the UK and in Japan. I was very impressed by how GPs in the UK act as strict gatekeepers working “under pressure not to refer” and how the flow of all the patients is tightly controlled under appointment systems. This is totally different from Japan where patients have choices to visit GPs or any specialty clinics any time without making an appointment. I imagine that being in charge of thousands of patients at each surgery must be an enormous workload for all the GPs in the UK but I could see that this is made possible by; 1) …