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Fact sheet

Setting up an initaitve using medical students to engage with GP Practices

How is the initiative run?
Keele University requires its medical students to undertake some time working with voluntary sector organisations as a part of their training. These students are given a choice of which organisation they wish to work with.

Those that want to work with Crossroads Care Staffordshire are then put in contact with the Crossroads staff, and undertake their placement. Second year students shadow and assist Crossroads staff, and the fifth year students undertake have undertaken a project with their designated GP practice.

Currently there are four GP Practices participating in this initiative. The students undertake an eight-week participation, in cohorts of five. The initiative is currently on its second cohort of fifth year medical students.

The students interview carers to identify issues which need to be raised in GP Practices, and have an induction with Crossroads staff who outline the aims and objectives of the initiative to them. Crossroads’ staff then provides an on-going support network for these students, answering queries and maintaining a relationship with them.

The students then act in the Practice they are assigned to address the issues raised by carers, raising awareness amongst Practice staff and producing materials where applicable. The students have to write a report on their work for their course.

What methods have been particularly effective?
The engagement with the GPs has been very, very good because these are medical students, and the GPs are very willing to talk with them.
The end-product, for example referral forms, have been very successful as well because they are produced to meet the needs of the GPs by people who have a fantastic insight into the demands that the GP Practice staff and GPs themselves are under.

Have there been any challenges along the way?
The initiative has not really faced obstacles because of the nature of what it is, and the fact that it has the backing of Keele University and involves medical students.

What hints and tips might help me get started?
Approach local schools and training centres – they will probably want to be involved. Crossroads Care Staffordshire was lucky because Keel University was redesigning its medical student programme, but other independent trainers may well be looking to further their students social and academic development through similar projects.

Are there any useful documents that assist me?
Letter from Keele University, explaining the benefits and success of the programme; Letter from Keel University (126 KB) (126 KB)

Where can I get further information?
Angela Ahuja,
Crossroads Care Staffordshire,
Clive Villa,
22 Cemetary Road,
ST4 2DL,
01782 268 391

When was this information collected?
March 2012

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