BSc degrees in Primary Care: establishing, maintaining, innovating

Talk Code: 
Niki Jakeways, Surinder Singh, Karen Fairhurst, Martin Sands
Author institutions: 
King's College London, University College London, University of Edinburgh, King's College London


An intercalated BSc in Primary Care presents an opportunity to showcase the richness and diversity of general practice, highlight its intellectual and philosophical foundations and allow greater exposure to the specialty. Raising the profile of academic primary care is highly relevant at a time of growing concern surrounding recruitment and retention of the GP workforce [1]; when more investment in primary care research as part of the Covid-19 response is needed [2]; and in addressing objectives to improve vocation to GP as highlighted by the Wass report [3].

There is an increasingly diverse iBSc portfolio for students across the educational marketplace with 376 courses available for 2020/21 [4] versus 230 in 2012 [5 ] and hence more competition for student interest. Student choice as to whether to intercalate, and in what, is complex [5]. Some primary care courses face pressure due to a lack of sufficient applications .

Providers of BScs in Primary Care need to work together to promote this as an excellent choice for medical students and help foster clinical and academic talent towards a career in primary care.

For this workshop the group sought to collaborate with all Primary Care BSc providers across the UK in order to:

•             share and distil knowledge with those involved in curriculum design or implementation

•             discuss facilitators and barriers to establishing, maintaining and innovating BSc degrees in Primary Care, including during the Covid-19 pandemic

•             support colleagues interested in establishing similar programmes.


Format and Content:

This interactive session will involve case studies from leaders of established, new and recently innovated programmes across the UK, and group discussion with the aim of sharing and generating ideas.

Introductions & Icebreaker

  • Experiences and aspirations
  • Challenges

Case Study 1: Establishing an iBSc

  • Small group discussion: learning from challenges and what went well

Case study 2: Maintaining an iBSc

  • Linked discussion

Case study 3: Innovating

  • Discussion in small groups
  • Challenges faced in revising and maintaining relevance and how to overcome them

Close: Summarise, plans for the future.


Intended Audience

Current providers, stakeholders or those interested in establishing BSc courses.



1.            Marchand, C. and S. Peckham, Addressing the crisis of GP recruitment and retention: a systematic review. British Journal of General Practice,2017. 67(657):p.e227-e237.

2.            Park, Sophie, et al. Strengthening the UK primary care response to covid-19 BMJ 2020; 370 :m3691

3.            Wass, V., et al, By Choice not By Chance: Supporting medical students towards future careers in General Practice.2016,Health Education England.

4.   [cited 2019 December]

5.            Jones, M., et al., Impact of an intercalated BSc on medical student performance and careers: a BEME systematic review: Med Teach, 2013.35(10):p.e1493-510.