Palliative care education for medical students: Differences in course evolution, organisation, evaluation and funding: A survey of all UK medical schools.
Walker S., Gibbins J., Paes P., Adams A., Chandratilake M., Gishen F., Lodge P., Wee B., Barclay S.
BACKGROUND: A proportion of newly qualified doctors report feeling unprepared to manage patients with palliative care and end-of-life needs. This may be related to barriers within their institution during undergraduate training. Information is limited regarding the current organisation of palliative care teaching across UK medical schools. AIMS: To investigate the evolution and structure of palliative care teaching at UK medical schools. DESIGN: Anonymised, web-based questionnaire. Settings/participants: Results were obtained from palliative care course organisers at all 30 UK medical schools. RESULTS: The palliative care course was established through active planning (13/30, 43%), ad hoc development (10, 33%) or combination of approaches (7, 23%). The place of palliative care teaching within the curriculum varied. A student-selected palliative care component was offered by 29/30 (97%). All medical schools sought student feedback. The course was reviewed in 26/30 (87%) but not in 4. Similarly, a course organiser was responsible for the palliative care programme in 26/30 but not in 4. A total of 22 respondents spent a mean of 3.9 h (median 2.5)/week in supporting/delivering palliative care education (<1-16 h). In all, 17/29 (59%) had attended a teaching course or shared duties with a colleague who had done so. Course organisers received titular recognition in 18/27 (67%; no title 9 (33%); unknown 3 (11%)). An academic department of Palliative Medicine existed in 12/30 (40%) medical schools. Funding was not universally transparent. Palliative care teaching was associated with some form of funding in 20/30 (66%). CONCLUSION: Development, organisation, course evaluation and funding for palliative care teaching at UK medical schools are variable. This may have implications for delivery of effective palliative care education for medical students.