Aims First presentations of paediatric illnesses normally occur in Primary Care, yet recent research from New Zealand (Pinnock and Jones, 2008) focused on hospital-based doctors’ perspectives on what should be included in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Primary Care physicians may have different perspectives, which should also shape the education provided for medical students. This study aimed to elicit the opinions of both GPs and hospital-based paediatricians about the relative importance of various presentations and skills to the curriculum, while also establishing if there were any additional presentations or skills they felt should be added.
Method This questionnaire-based study in the UK replicated the NZ study of Pinnock and Jones by asking consultants in paediatrics to comment on the importance of their 25 paediatric presentations (e.g. a febrile infant, child with vomiting and/or diarrhoea). The study extended on the NZ study in two ways: by including General Practitioners (GPs) and by eliciting opinions on the degrees of competence in specific clinical skills that hospital paediatricians and GPs in the UK wish newly qualified doctors to possess.
Results Sixty-three responses were received and analysed (33 Paediatricians, 30 GPs). Results found an agreement between NZ and UK paediatricians as to the importance of the presentations provided, to the undergraduate curriculum (69% or more answering very or quite important). In addition to the list provided, 12 suggested presentations were added. All the stated skills were also considered important to the curriculum, and 9 suggested additional skills were provided.
There was a statistically significant difference between the views of paediatricians and GPs as to the perceived importance of eight presentations and four skills.
Conclusion There was much agreement between paediatricians and GPs, as to the perceived importance of some of the stated presentations and skills, to the undergraduate curriculum, but it was also found that some of their views differed. Primary Care physicians have different perspectives, which should also shape the education provided for medical students. Future curriculum research should look to include other relevant professions, aside from specialists.
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