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Moving general practitioner training into primary care with cluster-based learning: a qualitative study in the West Midlands

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Education for Primary Care
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)89-96
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study sought to explore the early implementation of cluster-based learning (CBL) pilots in one part of the UK. A qualitative study using semi-structured one-to-one interviews was conducted with 10 key informants responsible for managing and delivering local training programmes across 14 general practice specialty training schemes. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis using the constant comparative method. Wide variation existed in the running of CBL pilots between different schemes. The principal reasons for trialling CBL were the high numbers of general practitioner trainees, resulting in extra pressure placed on postgraduate education facilities. Training programme directors (TPDs) managed and facilitated the current pilots. Effective facilitation of the groups was considered essential, along with good organisation and planning, and enthusiastic facilitators. Having a mixture of specialist trainees from different stages of training promoted shared learning in the group. The cluster-based approach was also judged to enable the targeting of training to meet the needs of learners and to address specific local needs. Responders considered that CBL should ultimately comprise learner-led sessions facilitated by educational supervisors, with TPDs being responsible for leading the improvement of the quality of educational and clinical supervision. The main reasons why CBL was not implemented were anxieties about the risks of losing the perceived benefits of the current training format in the absence of evidence of the added value of CBL. The reluctance of trainers to get involved was a major barrier - this resulted mainly from a lack of confidence with facilitating small groups and funding for their time.