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CME Small Group Meetings

Local CME Small Group Meetings

Profile of the CME Small Group Network

General practitioners (GPs) in active general practice continue to attend and support small group learning as their preferred method of CME, organised by local CME tutors and funded by the HSE National Doctors Training & Planning (NDTP) Unit.

Profile of the CME Small Group Network (2016):

  • There is a total of 37 tutors appointed. These tutors organise seven or eight monthly meetings per annum for each of three or four local groups of GPs.
  • There is a total of 172 groups nationally.
  • The national GP CME scheme had 3,128 GPs on the mailing lists in 2016. These doctors find the small group learning method a popular and effective way of keeping up to date with the many changes occurring in medical practice.
  • There were 1,319 meetings held.

As most of these doctors are members of the ICGP, this participation level is by some margin the most popular educational activity engaged in by College members. It is important to point out that the programme is not exclusive to ICGP members but is available to all GPs in active practice in a given geographical area.

The tutors in their now established role as education officers to their faculties of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) assist each faculty board in devising the educational programme of faculty events, study days (often in liaison with a local hospital) and co-ordination of College or HSE educational activities.

The CME scheme has continued to grow in strength and numbers. There is no doubt there is an increasing demand for this type of learning by GPs. The tutors do this work on a part-time basis, and most have a full clinical commitment. It can take two sessions to prepare a meeting: one session to attend a meeting (usually four groups per month) and one session post meeting (reporting to the National Director of CME).

Some tutors have to brief/debrief a group leader if they do not attend the meeting themselves. The tutors must attend three residential training workshop weekends per year. In turn, they are expected to act as assessors on visits to CME schemes. Leadership training workshops are resourced and run by tutors on occasion depending on local demand. The tutors are now recognised as the contact point for access to large numbers of GPs by the ICGP, hospitals, HSE and pharmaceutical companies, if an educational meeting is being planned by any of these groups.

Important public health campaigns will often be coordinated through the tutor network e.g., changes in immunisation schedules, etc. To recruit and retain tutors adequate resourcing of the tutor network is vital.