What are the origins of PBSGL?

  • The Practice Based Small Group Learning (PBSGL) initiative began in 1986 in the Foundation for Medical Practice Education (FMPE) at the McMaster University in Canada.
  • Across the world there are now over 5000 GP and PN members that enjoy being involved in PBSGL groups, as a way of maintaining their CPD and closing the gap between current practice and "best practice".
  • NES has supported PBSGL since 2006 and in 2009 PBSGL became a part of GP CPD provision provided by NES for General Practitioners, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians and Nurses working in General Practice/Primary Care.

How does it work?

  • Practitioners from a single or several practices voluntarily work in small groups with one person as facilitator, meeting on a regular basis. They discuss real patient problems, and the evidence to solve these cases.
  • Each meeting lasts 1-2 hours
  • The problems, the evidence, patient leaflets and websites are all combined in specially-prepared "modules" - which are available to all groups.
  • It is an enjoyable, relaxed and effective way to learn.
  • There is an enormous choice of modules that groups can study, and groups can cover as many as they like.
  • Groups usually meet every 6-8 weeks - sometimes by webcam or video conference in remote and rural areas.
  • The modules cover a broad range of common conditions - as below.
  • New modules are produced at a rate of 12-16 per year.
  • The majority of modules are produced by our Scottish writing team, and each year the we modify 2-3 Canadian modules to remove any "Canadianisms" - and this process is referred to as Tartanising ('T' on the list of modules).

PBSGL benefits

  • PBSGL is well-placed to fulfil the requirements of Appraisal and Revalidation.
  • PBSGL also helps reduce professional isolation, and is particularly valued by those Practitioners who may live and work far from other educational resources. The chance to talk with colleagues about everyday clinical matters, in a facilitated educational environment, has led to successful groups lasting for many years.

Future plans - We plan to develop the project, by;

  • continuing to develop our own Scottish writing team,
  • supporting the involvement of other health practitioners where applicable,
  • supporting the spread of PBSGL to the rest of the UK and beyond, and
  • actively researching the process of PBSGL.