Occasional Paper 12: Developing Interprofessional Education in Health and Social Care Courses in the UK
From: Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre
A New Health Sciences and Practice Publication: OP 12
The turn of the Century was a watershed in the short history of interprofessional
education (IPE) in the United Kingdom (UK) when the Labour government promoted
“common learning” to be built in to the mainstream of pre-registration professional
education for all the health and social care professions to help implement its
modernisation strategy (Secretary of State for Health, 2000; Department of Health,
2004). The proposition was as seductive as it was simple: learning together would
deliver not only a more collaborative but also a more flexible and more mobile
workforce responsive to the exigencies of practice and the expectations of
management. Reference to 30 years of IPE experience was conspicuous by its
absence. The past was and past. New wine was not to be put in old bottles.
Interprofessional activists responded with difficulty as they struggled to reconcile
government‟s expectations with the interprofessional antecedents and searched for
consensus between educational, professional and political perspectives within a
coherent and credible framework. That is the story which we tell. It picks up where
the previous historical review left off (Barr, 2007a) and revisits many of the issues
raised as interprofessional activists engage with the changes ahead (Barr, 2002).
The outcome is, however, more than a historical record of events during the past 15
years. It paves the way for another "chapter" in the ongoing saga of IPE in the UK as
newfound policies shape education and practice following a change of government.
It is addressed to policy makers, managers, teachers and researchers who have
travelled all or some of the same road to help them reappraise their experience,
review the evidence, revisit the arguments and refocus; also to their colleagues who
are relatively new to IPE to learn from others, obviate the need to reinvent the wheel
and avoid some of the pitfalls.
My source: Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre