The case for primary care R&D was initially raised in the Primary Care Strategy published by the Department of Health and Children in 2001. It was thought that this strategy provided a golden opportunity to develop research and indeed academic general practice. The AUDGPI engaged Professor John Howie and Fionan O’Cuinneagain to help chart a way forward for us in 2002.
In the foreword of the AUDGPI sponsored 2002 Howie O’Cuinneagain report on ‘The present position and future needs of department of general practice in the medical schools of Ireland’, Michael Boland wrote the following,
‘The creation of chairs and departments of general practice were amongst the most important aspirations of the founders of the Irish College of General Practitioners in 1984. Naively perhaps it was assumed that a professorial appointment would be accompanied by a critical mass of academic staff, a significant role in the curriculum, and funding for teaching practices and a research agenda.
This expectation was based on the gathering pace of undergraduate curriculum reform in other European countries and international recognition for the importance of community based primary medical care experience for all students.’
Exposure to general practice was recognised as professionalising medical students and it is the only time they have significant one to one teaching from a senior colleague. General practitioners as a professional group were initially wary of academic GPs.