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Drivers for interprofessional learning

The main driver behind the development and implementation of interprofessional learning (IPL) was to help improve health and social care services. This was in the wake of shifting service delivery patterns (including more care in the community, shorter in-patient stays and changes in professional roles) and a response to some high-profile cases in which vulnerable people (often children and young people) ‘fell through the net’ (Colwell Report, 1974; Laming Report, 2003).

Barr (2005, p. 13) sums up the reasons why IPL has developed as follows:

  • to modify negative attitudes and perceptions (Carpenter, 1995)
  • to remedy failures in trust and communication between professions (Carpenter, 1995)
  • to reinforce collaborative competence (Barr, 1998)
  • to secure collaboration:
    –  to implement policies (Department of Health, 2001)
    –  to improve services (Wilcock and Headrick, 2000)
    –  to effect change (Engel, 2001)
  • to cope with the problems that exceed the capacity of any one profession (Casto and Julia, 1994)
  • to enhance job satisfaction and ease stress (Barr et al., 1998; McGrath, 1991)
  • to create a more flexible workforce (Department of Health, 2000)
  • to counter reductionism and fragmentation as professions proliferate in response to technological advance (Gyamarti, 1986)
  • to integrate specialist and holistic care (Gyamarti, 1986). 

Economic drivers also support collaboration and partnership working. Faresjo suggests that ‘the working together of healthcare professionals to meet the increasingly complex patients’ and clients’ needs most effectively is more important today than ever before. This is especially so in rural and remote areas around the world, where available healthcare resources are often quite sparse. In such cases, is it essential that health and social professionals work together in order to supply sufficient care within available resources’ (2006, p. 1).

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