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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Primary Care (BIME10059)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore the fundamental theories and concepts that underpin contemporary general practice/primary care, both as a clinical 'specialty' and an academic discipline. It will provide a historical perspective on the organization of UK general practice/primary care and place UK general practice/primary care within an international context.
The course will comprise four overlapping modules including (1) Understanding general practice/primary care, (2) The consultation, (3) The patient and their illness, and (4) The population perspective. Module 1 examines the evolution of UK general practice/primary care as a clinical specialty and academic discipline, explains universal coverage, examines the emergence of the primary care team and introduces an international perspective. Module 2 covers the GP consultation as a 'health technology', and examines doctor and patient factors influencing the consultation. Module 3 covers health beliefs and behaviours and the role of the family in illness and health. Module 4 covers primary care epidemiology and its importance for the diagnostic process and for the management of uncertainty.
Course description Students will gain an in-depth understanding of principles and theories which define general practice/primary care as a both a clinical 'specialty' and an academic discipline. The course will critically evaluate UK general practice/primary care using international comparisons and will examine the main challenges currently faced by general practice/ primary care. The course will comprise 4 modules, each with 2-4 topics. Seminars will provide an overview of each topic and tutorials will facilitate in-depth examination of the key themes and concepts. The course will be underpinned by general practice/primary care research which has its roots in the academic disciplines of sociology, psychology, epidemiology, anthropology and the humanities.

1. Understanding general practice/primary care
- Evolution of UK general practice/primary care as a clinical 'specialty' and an academic discipline. Students will learn about the structure of primary care and how it fits within the health system as a whole.
- The concepts of universal coverage, and open access to health care.
- The emergence of the primary care team and the evolution of professional roles and responsibilities.
- Understanding UK general practice/primary care using comparisons with other 'Westernised' countries and with resource-poor settings.

2. The Consultation
- The GP consultation as a 'health technology', including an understanding of the main theoretical models of the consultation and the practical tasks and functions of the consultation.
- The ways in which the consultation is influenced by 'doctor' factors (e.g. sociodemographic, consultation style), 'patient' factors (e.g. sociodemographic, health beliefs) and wider sociocultural factors.

3. The patient and their illness
- Variation in and determinants of beliefs and behaviours relating to health and illness.
- Influences on patients' health, beliefs and behaviours, including psychological, sociocultural, structural and environmental factors
- The role of family in the origin, recognition, and management of ill health.

4. Population Perspective
- Key concepts of primary care epidemiology (including the 'illness iceberg') and their importance for the diagnostic process and for the management of risk and uncertainty.
- The interface between general practice/primary care and public health, including the role of primary care in taking a population perspective for illness prevention and health promotion.
- Sociodemographic variations in disease prevalence and the impact of those factors on the need for and access to general practice/primary care.
- Emerging challenges for general practice/primary care: the ageing population and its impact on the balance between primary and secondary care; complex multiple morbidity and the development of GPs as the expert generalist.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 32, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 160 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) End-of-course assessment
A 90 minute written exam in December diet (70%)
In-course assessment
Powerpoint presentation (week 7) on a primary care topic chosen from a prescribed list of topics provided to students early in Semester 1 (30%)
Feedback Students will be given formative feedback on a regular basis in relation to small group work and tutorials. Feedback will be also be provide to students following the powerpoint presentation.
A structured questionnaire will be used to gather student feedback on the components of the course.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of (i) the principles which underpin UK general practice/primary care and (ii) the evolution of general practice/primary care as an academic discipline.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key theories which inform health-related behaviors, illness behaviour and doctor-patient interactions, including the general practice consultation.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of primary care epidemiology (including the illness iceberg), care pathways and the interfaces between primary and secondary care.
  4. Critically evaluate the most important emerging challenges facing UK general practice/primary care, e.g. the ageing population and complex multiple morbidity.
  5. Develop a broad understanding of the ethos and functioning of UK general practice/primary care, by making international comparisons.
Reading List
Jones, R. Britten, N. Culpepper, L. Gass, D. Grol, R. Mant, D. and Silagy, C. Oxford Textbook of Primary Medical Care. Oxford University Press 2004
GREENHALGH, T. 2007. Primary Health care: theory and practice. Wiley Blackwell
NETTLETON, S. 2013. The sociology of health and illness. 3rd edition. Cambridge : Polity
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will have a broad overview of modern Primary Care in the wider context of the NHS including the key issues and priorities within this field. Students will be critical thinkers able to apply the generic critical appraisal and research skills they have learned to a future career in any branch of medicine as well as Primary Care itself. Students will be able to evaluate and critique research papers and use information and communication technology to communicate effectively to their colleagues. Students will be able to work well as part of a team in diverse contexts.
KeywordsPrimary Care,National Health Service,population,health,illness
Course organiserDr Helen Richards
Tel: (0131 6)51 4362
Course secretaryMiss Morag Wilson
Tel: (0131 6) 509 414
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