Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

International Primary Care Principles and Systems MED5440

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

In the report "Primary Care, Now More Than Ever", the World Health Organisation reaffirmed its support for primary care as an integral part of health care internationally. This course examines the essential features of effective primary care systems in a range of health care settings in low, middle and high income countries. It considers the challenges facing primary care in the 21st century, in terms of population change, rising multimorbidity, workforce and recruitment challenges and resource constraints.


This online course will be developed as 10 separate sessions to run over 11 weeks. Each session will comprise online lectures prepared in advance by staff or external speakers (approximately 1 hour in total); with additional tasks such as questions, pre-specified reading, quizzes and discussion forums. There will also be a number of synchronous question and answer sessions hosted by the course coordinator or course contributors.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Assessment comprising

■ 2500 word essay, drawing on the course, personal experience and current literature (60% of final grade)

■ Coursework tasks, for example short essay-style exercise, a short presentation or collaborative group work (40% of final grade)

Course Aims

The course aims to produce graduates who understand the key components of a strong and effective primary care system and how these components operate internationally, in response to different demographic, structural and healthcare challenges

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Identify and critique the key features of primary care across different countries, economies and cultures.

2. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different ways of categorising and comparing healthcare systems and primary care in particular.

3. Critically evaluate policy responses purporting to support the development of primary care, with particular consideration of the impact of austerity measures on provision of primary healthcare.

4. Critically evaluate the demographic, economic and healthcare challenges facing primary care in different low, middle and high income country settings.

5. Critically discuss primary care's role in providing care for vulnerable populations and in addressing inequity in health and healthcare.

6. Examine, interpret and debate how primary care practitioners and patients may address major health and care issues, including the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and increasing multimorbidity.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.