Archive 2015

Health and Social Care Regulators Host Conference Focussed on Interprofessional Learning

October 06, 2015

Health and Social Care Learning Needs To Be Less Insular To Improve Patient Safety, Says International Expert
Event brings together 300 delegates from 15 Irish health and social care professions for the first time

Speakers and organisers of the IPL Dublin 2015 Conference in Dublin CastleAn international expert in the education of health professionals has told 300 health and social care delegates at a major conference in Dublin Castle today (6 October) that there must be greater collaborative education, training and in-practice interaction among their professions to improve long-term patient outcomes and safety.

Speaking at the 2015 Interprofessional Learning (IPL) Conference on the theme of ‘Advancing health and well-being through interprofessional learning for collaborative practice: Good practice, Dilemmas and Future Directions’, Dr John HV Gilbert, a Professor Emeritus at University of British Columbia and WHO Scholar, said that sometimes those working in the general health and care services, and policy-makers, need a reminder that the patient, not the professional, is the subject of the system’s attention.

Addressing this first ever joint Irish health and social care regulators’ conference, he highlighted the need to move away from insular approaches to practice and training and for more focus on interprofessional learning opportunities.

“How can health and social care professionals engage in collaborative practice if they don’t learn together?” Dr Gilbert asked. “The challenge facing health and social care professions is to radically rethink the education and training curricula so that when graduates enter practice they clearly understand that the patient, client, customer and service-user is at the centre of integrated, interprofessional collaborative practice.”

The conference also heard that for interprofessional learning and its ensuing benefits to occur, there needs to be a greater alignment of the education of the health and social care professions with service delivery from a funding and planning perspective.

Professor James Buchan, an international expert in human resources for health systems, said that integration of the educational and health and social care delivery systems needs a funding base that is clearly focused on outcomes to ensure the sustainability of the system.

The inaugural conference was jointly hosted by the main Irish health and social care regulators including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, CORU, and supported by the Dental Council, and the Department of Health. The regulators acknowledge the importance of collaboration and interprofessional learning and continue to work together in the best interest of patient safety and public protection. The event brought together, in one venue, 300 delegates from some 15 health and social care professions to focus on how to improve long-term patient outcomes and safety through collaborative, interprofessional learning and education.

Plenary speaker, Margaret Murphy, an External Lead Advisor with the World Health Organisation’s Patients for Patient Safety, spoke of her personal experiences of medical error in the case of her son a number of years ago.

“Human error inevitably happens, but learning from it as a provider of healthcare services is the key,” said Ms Murphy. “Patient and family engagement is at the heart of ensuring patient safety, and the patient experience is the driver for healthcare improvement. The challenge is to provide care that is patient-centred, seamlessly integrated and premised on a common ethos. It is vital we expose health and social care students of all disciplines to the reality of the patient experience to help them to gain insight into what it is like to be a patient or a family member when things go wrong. Appreciating the privilege of being a healthcare professional is paramount.”

Speaking on behalf of the regulatory organisations hosting the conference, Marita Kinsella, PSI CEO, said: “The patient and public benefit of health and social care professions partnering together and communicating well is the heart of the message from today’s conference. As a group we recognise the professional and subsequent patient benefit of collaborative care being embedded from the earliest stages of undergraduate education, and continuing throughout lifelong career learning. This conference was envisaged to open dialogue amongst the professions and share best practice ideas and examples of integrated care and effective interdisciplinary learning.”

The conference took place at Dublin Castle and also featured contributions from Christine Braithwaite, Caroline Hager and Dr Siobhán Ní Mhaolrúnaigh, representing the World Health Organisation (WHO), patient safety and the European Commission, amongst others.

The conference programme and other details are available on the conference website, Information on each of the regulatory organisers of the conference can also be found on that website.

Pictured above (L-R): Mr Pat O'Mahony, Department of Health; PSI Registrar Ms Marita Kinsella; Dr John HV Gilbert, keynote speaker from University of British Columbia; and Mrs Margaret Murphy, External Lead Advisor with the World Health Organisation’s Patients for Patient Safety.

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