The benefits and costs of a master's programme in primary health care: a cross-sectional postal survey

Zoi Tsimtsiou, Kalwant Sidhu, Roger Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background Master's programmes can provide continuing professional development, equipping GPs to teach, research, and lead general practice. A previous evaluation of the MSc in primary health care found that graduates were contributing significantly to the discipline of general practice. Given the changes in general practice over the last 10 years, it was considered useful to investigate longer-term outcomes. Aim To assess the benefits GPs have derived from the MSc in terms of the intended learning outcomes and their own plans for involvement in research and teaching. Design of study A cross-sectional survey using a postal questionnaire. Setting Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences, King's College London. Method A postal questionnaire was sent to the graduates of MSc in primary health care from 1997 until 2008. Results A total of 50 completed questionnaires were returned (response rate 76%). After graduation, 22 GPs had completed another degree or diploma and 21 had work accepted for publication, resulting in 74 papers. Nine held academic posts at lecturer or senior lecturer level, 21 were GP trainers, and 21 undergraduate teachers. Twenty-five GPs held more than one teaching-related post. The majority of the graduates confirmed the attainment of the MSc's intended outcomes. Positive influences of the MSc were identified, including career development, personal development, and job satisfaction. Conclusion Graduates reported a number of benefits to themselves, their practices, and their patients. As the requirements for continuing professional development of GPs become more stringent, and with the advent of revalidation, the current ad hoc approach to career development in general practice is becoming unsustainable. To enhance its credibility as an academic discipline, general practice must continue to develop its capacity for research and scholarship. Master's programmes are likely to have-an important role in supporting professional development in general practice in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803 - 807
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number580
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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