The Picker Report, commissioned and published by the Trust in 2018, aimed to scope the current education and training landscape for the health and social care workforce, its latest developments and whether there might be certain professions delivering care to older people which may benefit from enhanced education and training. The report highlighted the dearth of existing research in this area and, subsequently, the Trust called for proposals from across the medical and allied professions to support education and training initiatives that had the potential or intention to improve provision or conduct further research into the needs of specific professions.

Bristol Medical School responded to the call, outlining its initiative to change the content and delivery of its undergraduate curriculum to reflect the changing needs of an ageing population. By embarking on a unique and ambitious programme of undergraduate learning in  complex medicine in older people, Bristol Medical School aims to equip ‘tomorrow’s doctors with the skills and knowledge they will need to provide compassionate and quality care for older adults.’

Bristol Medical School is uniquely positioned to evaluate changes made to undergraduate curricula as it is currently transitioning from the original curriculum, which includes a 4-week course in geriatric medicine, to the new curriculum that includes an expanded and innovative programme, Complex Medicine in Older People.

Principal Supervisor Dr Emily Henderson has been awarded funding for a Training Fellowship to rigorously assess the attitudes and career paths of two cohorts of medical students from the University of Bristol, one of which will be undertaking the original curriculum and the other the updated curriculum. Additionally, the Fellow will carry out a UK survey of medical schools to contextualise the Bristol Medical School approach within the national landscape of undergraduate teaching and systematic reviews will be done to determine the current provision of geriatric medicine training globally.

The project will provide evidence on how changes to undergraduate training can affect medical students’ attitudes to older people and their chosen career paths and will improve the evidence-base on geriatric training both nationally and internationally. In the long term, it is hoped that Bristol Medical School will serve as an exemplar for undergraduate medical training and will inform other medical schools’ curricula and educational policy.

Dr Grace Pearson has been appointed as the Research Fellow and will be provided with mentorship and training under the supervision of Dr Emily Henderson and Prof Yoav Ben-Shlomo.

The Picker Report represents one strand of the Trust’s Older People’s Care Improvement Initiative.  Find out more.