Primary care consultation skills training: implementing a new training programme for senior house officers in an accident and emergency department

Med Educ. 1997 Jul;31(4):243-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.1997.tb02920.x.


Senior house officers (SHOs) in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments see many patients who present with primary care problems. Until now, most SHOs have lacked postgraduate training in primary care skills to enable them to meet these patients' needs effectively. This paper describes an innovative training programme that has been developing at King's College Hospital, London. It identifies a new opportunity for general practitioners to contribute to the postgraduate medical education of hospital junior medical staff. The training programme was designed to give A&E SHOs protected time in which to reflect on strengths and weaknesses in relation to primary care consultations and learn from their experiences. Its aim was to improve the assessment and management of patients, and to encourage a problem solving approach within the A&E setting. The programme, established in 1992, was developed through collaboration between the departments of A&E Medicine and General Practice and Primary Care. Evaluation has been a central theme in its development, and has been used to ensure that the training meets the needs of each individual set of SHOs and of the department. It has been used in establishing agreement about the training's value and benefits. The authors discuss some of the methodological difficulties encountered in evaluating this type of educational initiative.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Referral and Consultation*