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Queen’s launches new medical curriculum which will address changing needs of NI's healthcare system

Queen’s University Belfast has today (Monday 21 September) launched its new medical school curriculum.

The new curriculum has been crafted in response to the changes in healthcare envisioned in ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026 - Delivering Together’ and has been named C25 as the first intake of students to the new curriculum will graduate in 2025.

As our population is getting older, multi-morbidity and complexity are becoming more commonplace. As a result, the healthcare system in Northern Ireland is changing. The focus locally and internationally is on prevention of illness and population health, on new ways of doing things and new partnerships between primary and secondary care. For several years Queen’s has been working to create a new curriculum designed to train the next generation of doctors to be leaders and effectors of this change.

The new C25 curriculum will have a greater focus on preventative care and health promotion; the extensive use of case studies and clinical placement will provide medical students with the knowledge and experience to work with patients with multiple concerns and illnesses over their lifespan.

The curriculum also gives students significantly greater exposure to general practice and community-based care. The teaching in Queen’s new, world-class interprofessional simulation centre will help students learn to work safely in teams with other health professionals, ultimately ensuring Queen’s graduates will be better equipped to deal with the complexities of modern healthcare.

To create the new curriculum, Queen’s reviewed best practice in other UK medical schools, including Cardiff, Bristol, and Keele. They also engaged Professor Val Wass, a global leader in medical education, as a facilitator. The result is a curriculum that is truly ‘fit for purpose’: a transformed curriculum for a transformed healthcare system.

Professor Pascal McKeown, Head of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, said: “I am delighted to welcome the new C25 curriculum at Queen’s. This innovative curriculum aligns with the recommendations made by the Bengoa Report and places the patient at the centre of our teaching. This curriculum is reflective of the University’s commitment to world-class medical teaching and will equip our students to become competent and confident doctors and leaders of the future.”

Professor Neil Kennedy, Director of the Centre for Medical Education at Queen’s, said: “We have worked closely with our partners to ensure that the C25 curriculum addresses the changing needs of our healthcare system and enables our doctors of the future to deliver the best, patient-centred health care for our population, which has always been at the core of Queen’s medical teaching.

“This is a new curriculum but delivers the same vision – to create a medical graduate that is a caring and compassionate doctor, who is a critical thinker, problem solver and reflective practitioner with excellent clinical skills who values, above all else, service to patients.”

Dr Laurence Dorman, Royal College of General Practitioners Northern Ireland Chair, said: “We are delighted to see the new C25 curriculum launched this week. From September 2020, new medical students studying in Northern Ireland will experience greater learning opportunities in primary care and receive a more integrated educational experience across community and hospital environments.

“The Health & Social Care transformation agenda highlights the importance of caring for patients in their own homes and the new curriculum is a vital component in this. C25 will help reforming our health and social care system by ensuring tomorrow’s doctors have the necessary skills to deliver care to patients in the community, wherever possible.”