Mainstreaming interprofessional education in the United Kingdom: a position paper

Barr, Hugh and Ross, Fiona (2006) Mainstreaming interprofessional education in the United Kingdom: a position paper. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 20(2), pp. 96-104. ISSN (print) 1356-1820


Interprofessional education (IPE) is being built into the mainstream of professional education for all health and social care professions throughout the United Kingdom (UK) driven by the Labour Government elected in 1997, coincidentally the year that this Journal hosted the first All Together Better Health conference in London. The incoming government prioritized pre-qualifying IPE to be provided in partnership by universities and service agencies supported regionally by workforce development confederations, later absorbed into strategic health authorities (SHAs), and centrally by educational, professional and regulatory bodies. Ambitious agenda for pre-qualifying IPE set by government are being tempered by realistic assessment of current outcomes borne of experience and corroborated by evidence. This paper suggests some ways to ease constraints and improve outcomes, but emphasizes the need to generate continuing interprofessional learning opportunities that build on the basics. It argues that accumulating experience and evidence must be brought to bear in formulating criteria for the approval and review of IPE within regulatory systems for professional education. Can IPE be sustained within mainstream professional education once initial enthusiasm ebbs and earmarked funds run dry? That is the issue.

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