University of Sussex

File(s) under permanent embargo

Learners' experience of continuing medical education events: a qualitative study of GP principals in Dorset

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 14:50 authored by Charles Campion-Smith, Helen Smith, Peter White, Emma Baker, Roger Baker, Immy Holloway
Background: General practitioners’ (GPs’) attendance at continuing medical education (CME) events has increased since the introduction of the Post Graduate Educational Allowance (PGEA) in 1990. However, few studies have examined doctors’ perceptions about their continuing education, and explored their views in depth. Aim: To investigate general practitioners’ experience of CME events, what personal impact they had, and how the GPs perceived the influence of CME in their professional practice and patient care. Method: A qualitative study, with in-depth semi-structured interviews, of a purposive sample of 25 general practitioners in Dorset was conducted. Content analysis was used to identify major themes from the transcripts. Results: GPs perceived CME events as beneficial. Confidence levels rose, and the events provided a break from practice that refreshed and relaxed, thus indirectly benefiting patients. The opportunities provided by formal events for informal learning and exchange of ideas, with both peers in general practice and consultant colleagues, were highly valued. The relevance of the subject to general practice, and the appropriateness of the educational format, were considered of paramount importance. Few responders identified major changes in their practice as a result of formal CME events, and information was seldom disseminated among practice colleagues. Conclusion: The results of this study challenge GP educators to provide CME that is relevant, to recognize the value of peer contact, and to facilitate the incorporation of new information into practice.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


British Journal of General Practice




Royal College of General Practitioners





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Primary Care and Public Health Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected