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Study with us

Our core team are responsible for all Primary Health Care undergraduate teaching and administration of medical students at Oxford.  We are unique in that our courses span both the pre-clinical and clinical years.  This means we get to know the students from day one at Medical School right through to finals and provide continuity for the whole six year course.

The majority of the Primary Care teaching takes place in Year five and this consists of a six-week GP attachment integrated with Public Health, Dermatology, Palliative Care and Geratology.

The primary health care teaching team consists of:

  1. A core team based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences on the Old Road Campus, Headington. This core team consists of:
    Teaching Co-ordinator - Dr Michael Moher
    Course Administrator - Mrs Emma Wiley 
    - Administrative Assistant - Sophie Bailey 
  2. Community-based team consisting of approximately 200 General Practice (GP) Tutors nationwide, though many tutors are concentrated in and around Oxfordshire.

Joint activities of the core team

The core team work closely together on a daily basis to provide a strong administrative structure and we hold weekly review meetings to discuss progress of each of the courses we are responsible for.

Organisation and administration

  • Organisation of Patient and the Doctor I course (five sessions in Year one and three sessions in Year two) and liaison with 35 GP Tutors, 45 pre-clinical college Tutors and 160 students.  This is an innovative course started in 2001 which gives students an early opportunity to see patients and link their pre-clinical scientific curriculum to clinical practice.
  • Organisation of Year four Patient and the Doctor II attachment for 135 students (one-week nationwide GP residential placement).  The organisation of this attachment is hugely complex and time consuming but gives each student one-to-one contact with a clinician very early on in the clinical school and its popularity is reflected in the excellent feedback we receive.
  • Co-ordination of Year four Special Study Module in Literature & Medicine (four week course each year).   This was introduced by Dr Tim Lancaster in 2001 and was led in 2010 by Dr Alison Convey.  The module is organised around medically relevant themes. The themes included empathy, death and dying, disability, madness and creativity, addiction, domestic violence, ethical dilemmas, doctor/patient communication, doctors' emotions and end of life decisions. Dr Convey uses a variety of texts including plays, poetry, short stories and novels as well as other genres including film, theatre and visual arts to illustrate the mentioned themes. The students have attached great importance to the insights gained into patients and their experience of illness in their feedback.
  • Organisation of Year four Communication Skills Course (seven sessions for each clinical student), covering topics such as Breaking Bad news, Anger & Aggression, Sex & Sexuality.
  • Organisation of the Year four GP sessions during the students’ District General Hospital (DGH) rotation in Reading, Swindon, High Wycombe or Northampton. This also includes liaison with the Medical School, the regional co-ordinators, the GP Tutors and the Students. The Administrator along with the teaching co-ordinator attend annual meetings with participating practices in these four regional areas.
  • Organisation of Year five six-week attachment in Primary Care, including placing of students in General Practice, organisation of departmental seminars and teaching resources, organisation of summative assessment and liaison with practices and students.  This course provides further one-to-one teaching for the students and enables students to see patients on their own for the first time, whilst under the supervision of their GP Tutor.
  • Co-ordination of Year six Special Study Module in Primary Care (two-week attachment).  This is taken up by students wishing to pursue a career in General Practice.
  • The Martin Lawrence Scholarship funds a two-week exchange visit for one final year medical student each year between Oxford and one of the Nordic countries.
  • Introduction and implementation of Mock OSCE (MOSCE) examination.  This was an initiative piloted under the SIFT Fellowship programme under the guidance of Dr Lindsay O’Kelly in 2004.  In response to requests from students to have a ‘practice’ final year summative examination in 2004 we held mock exams in two general practice surgeries in Oxford.  Feedback from the students who participated was extremely positive and the opportunity was therefore extended to all students in subsequent final years.  Nearly 100% of final year students took up the opportunity to attend a MOSCE in 2010 and 2011.  The opportunities to practise with peers in examination conditions and the chance to refine skills and identify weaknesses with time to improve them were cited by students as particularly valuable.
  • Organisation of meetings and ‘Away Days’ for all undergraduate Tutors: 
    • We run a range of teaching and learning workshops which include video work to encourage continual professional development of our GP Tutors.
    • We organise an annual meeting with Tutors for the Patient and the Doctor I course.  This has proved successful in building relations between pre-clinical College Tutors and GP Tutors teaching the sessions and has enhanced the quality of teaching.
    • We should like to stress how important these meeting and training sessions are in supporting new and existing Tutors and listening to their feedback. It enables all Tutors to be involved with the decision-making process with regards to the Primary Care teaching, not just those on the Teaching Committee.
  • Maintenance of Primary Care information on the University Virtual Learning Environment (Weblearn) as well as maintenance of student and course records.  All our teaching materials are available on Weblearn and we have introduced some Web based tutorials which encourage students with their self directed learning.  All our community based GP tutors have access to Weblearn and help students take advantage of it as a useful learning resource.
  • Management of quality assurance procedures i.e. collation and analysis of student evaluation of all aspects of the primary care courses.

Recruitment and liaison

  • Recruitment of year five teaching practices.  This has become essential due to the increase in the number of medical students in order to maintain the year five teaching in its current format, i.e. each student spends six weeks (three days per week) attached to a local GP with one-to-one mentoring from an allocated GP tutor.  This has proved to be a challenging task given the limited number of GP practices in Oxford who are not already teaching medical students and has meant that we have had to recruit from a wider geographical area.
     
  • Responsible for ensuring effective communication and strong working relationships with the Medical Sciences Office and other University Departments, members of the Division of  Public Health & Primary Care, Tutors and Students.

Pastoral Care for Students in Year Five

  • In such an intensive block, it is common for students to incur problems during their Year five attachment and it is reiterated to students at the induction meeting for the course, as well as throughout the six weeks, that we are here to support and guide them if they are having difficulties. Students have indicated that they value this mentoring approach.

Year Five Assessment

  • Currently, a summative assessment is undertaken by students completing their six-week GP attachment.  Over the past five years this examination has undergone major changes and innovation under the guidance of Dr Julian Hancock, Medical Education Fellow and GP Tutor, with support from Dr Michael Moher.

Year Four Communications Skills Course

  • Dr Helen Salisbury has been running this course for the fourth year students for the past four years with support from Mrs Emma Wiley on the administration side. Students attend seven sessions of Communications Skills teaching in this academic year. These seminars are designed to help the students identify, explore and practice the core skills necessary for effective communication with patients.