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Poster Abstracts

How are the principles of integration currently taught to Scottish medical students? Sharing ideas and building connections in undergraduate education


Sarah Elizabeth Cackette

NHS Education for Scotland, GB
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An introduction: (comprising background and problem statement) In April 2016, legislation came into force  in Scotland implementing Health and Social Care integration. This project looks at teaching and promoting integrated care to medical students who will be involved in its future delivery.

Description of policy context and objective: To explore how integration is currently taught to medical students with an aim to highlight and share innovation, and explore relevant incorporation into the undergraduate curriculum.

Targeted population: This project looks at the medical undergraduate population in Scotland.

Highlights: (innovation, Impact and outcomes) Staff involved in curriculum design from all five Scottish Medical Schools were interviewed, exploring  healthcare system structure, health and social care integration, person-centred care and inter-professional teaching. Overall they demonstrated, to differing extents, these principles with specific teaching on professionalism, teamwork, communication, self-reflection etc. One university has introduced managing uncertainty at an early stage, another has introduced a module which focuses on the operation of a ward. Medical students work closely with nurses and allied health professionals (as well as families), giving insight into the healthcare system and holistic care.

Some had strong inter-professional teaching  with one university using clinical scenario/simulation teaching  and group reflection with good feedback. Positive role-modelling of community facing specialities, joint teaching from doctors and other healthcare professionals, clinical skills taught by nurses etc. is displaying professional behaviour required for working within integrated services.

These projects have received positive feedback from students, staff and patients involved. It has also encouraged use of new technology to encourage engagement of students.

Comments on transferability: Each university’s curriculum is different and changes recommended need to be general to allow appropriate and relevant adaptation.


A focus on the themes of integration – including empowering patients, families and communities; social determinants, managing risk, health inequalities, complexity, multi-morbidity – rather than detailed teaching on specifics of the Scottish healthcare system will make the teaching more relevant and transferrable to international students, those who move after graduation etc.

Conclusions: (comprising key findings, discussion and lessons learned) There is already a lot of teaching on integration principles.  There is understandable caution regarding adding material to an already full curriculum but the importance of integration is acknowledged with a willingness to explore this.

One of the strongest themes was that the specifics of individual healthcare systems might not be relevant to all medical students. What is valued though, is creating doctors of the future who have a wide range of skills to adapt to an evolving healthcare landscape with a knowledge of the principles of integration.

These findings are being fed back to the Deans of the Scottish universities to share ideas and to develop teaching further – creating links and continuity across medical schools.

From this project there is now discussion developing with third sector organisations and the government to explore and develop ideas.

Further learning/research:

- Integration teaching in postgraduate medical education?

- Integration teaching for nursing/allied health professional undergraduates?

- Could these be connected?

How to Cite: Cackette SE. How are the principles of integration currently taught to Scottish medical students? Sharing ideas and building connections in undergraduate education. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2017;17(5):A597. DOI:
Published on 17 Oct 2017.


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