3: Hot topics and emerging issues

Having explored key concepts and summarised key findings from the research, this chapter examines three key issues concerning IPE in health and social care settings. These hot topics were chosen because they are the ones about which we are asked most:

  • How can we involve service users and carers within the process of IPE? Does this make any difference to outcomes for trainees and, ultimately, for people who use services themselves?

  • How can we‘mainstream’ and sustain IPE in education and training for health and social care?

  • How can IPE programmes be effectively evaluated?

A key theme of health and social care policy concerns enabling service users (patients/clients) and carers to take a more central and active role in the organisation and delivery of their care. This policy has been extended to education to the extent that the DH (2002b) required social work education to involve service users and carers in the design and delivery of programmes. The General Medical Council (GMC) set out similar requirements in 2009 followed by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which regulates educational standards for allied health professionals and social care (2014).

There are a variety of ways in which service users may be involved in IPE. The earliest examples in the literature describe service users or carers sharing their experiences with mixed groups of professionals, either through presentations (‘testimonials’) or by allowing themselves to be interviewed by the students. For example, Turner et al (2000) describe a series of palliative care workshops during which medical, nursing, social work and rehabilitation therapy students interviewed the family carers of people with a terminal illness.

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