Community Orientated Medical Experience Track (COMET)

COMET 2

The University of Glasgow Medical School's Community Orientated Medical Experience Track (COMET).

COMET is a new and innovative scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, to give selected medical students an enhanced and immersive experience of General Practice which will equip them with the requisite skills to become the next generation of leaders of Primary Care in Scotland.

Entry to this scheme will be from among successful entrants to the MBChB course.  Applicants will apply to Year 1 of the MBChB Course in the normal way via UCAS for entry in September the following year.  Information on entry requirements for the MBChB Course can be found at https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/medicine/mus/admissions/.  An interview or entry is not guaranteed.

Once students have commenced the MBChB Course, there will be an application process specifically for a place on COMET. There are 30 places available on the COMET scheme each year. Applications are completed in Year 1 and successful students embark on the COMET programme from Year 2 until the end of Preparation for Practice in Year 5. The COMET curriculum covers all aspects of General Practice with a rich exposure to real life clinical practice during the 4 years of the programme; central to COMET is increased patient contact and an authentic experience of Primary Care in Scotland.

The COMET students would continue on the usual MBChB curriculum with exposure to all the other teaching and specialties. The additional COMET teaching throughout years 2-5 of the MBChB course consists of the following:

Year 2 – COMET SSC – in Health Inequalities/social Determinants of Health

Year 3, 4 and 5 – fortnightly afternoon sessions in General practice (GP Longitudinal Placement) + 1 x COMET SSC + 1 x COMET elective

Year 5 – additional 2 weeks of Primary Care teaching during Preparation for Practice

COMET 3

Student Selected Components (SSCs)

Glasgow students complete 3 SSCs (student selected components) during their studies; each SSC lasts for 5 weeks. COMET students must undertake 2 out of the 3 in Primary Care, with the first being a core topic of Health Inequalities in Year 2. This SSC looks at the Social Determinants of Health (poverty, employment, the impact of health care policies and health care systems on health) and students will spend time in a range of health and community settings, meeting patients, service users, volunteers and professionals including time within a Deep End practice (the Deep End practices are the top 100 most deprived practices in Scotland).

Of the 2 remaining SSCs that Glasgow students undertake, only 1 must be from a menu of COMET-specific choices. These choices are varied but will be Primary Care based e.g. Health Inequalities, Remote & Rural, Deep End practice, Medical Education/Academic GP or a topic of interest to you that we can develop into an SSC.

Electives

Electives lasts for 4 weeks and Glasgow students complete 2 electives: one at the end of 3rd year (Junior) and the other at the end of 4th year (Senior). COMET students must complete one of their 2 electives in Primary Care and will have a variety of options to choose from, including overseas experiences. These electives will look at the differences in presentation and management of common conditions between primary care and secondary; a chance to experience the different roles a GP plays in a patient’s journey and, if undertaking an elective abroad, an opportunity to consider the impact of the healthcare system on illness.

GP Longitudinal Placement

The GP Longitudinal Placement: these extra sessions in General Practice occur during Phase 4 of the curriculum, which starts halfway through Year 3 until Final exams in year 5, thus covering a 2-year period. COMET students will be allocated a GP surgery to attend for 2 years on their own or in pairs. These sessions occur during the normal timetable and are not in your own time. This unprecedented level of personalised teaching within a practice will be invaluable in honing students’ medical skills while giving an authentic experience of General Practice. Students will benefit from being embedded within one surgery – becoming part of the team! Students will spend time in observed surgeries with members of the Primary Care Team – GPs, practice nurses, Advanced Nurse practitioners (ANPs). They will have the opportunity to conduct student-led surgeries under GP supervision and accompany the GP on home visits. Students will spend time with district nurses, pharmacists, financial inclusion workers and addiction workers and receive tutorials on agreed topics with case-based discussions (CBD).

Preparation for Practice

Students will return to their GP Longitudinal Placement practices for a further 1-2 weeks.

During this placement students will undertake entirely student led surgeries with GP supervision. They will be expected to take a full history and examination before preparing differential diagnoses, a management plan including medication and dosages while outlining appropriate follow up.

There will be supervised interpretation of results e.g. on docman (the electronic system used for results and clinical letters) with actions discussed and management planned.

Students will attend practice/team meetings e.g.palliative care, vulnerable children.

If students express interest in academic General Practice, research or teaching, then some time can be spent within the Academic Department of General Practice at the University of Glasgow.

COMET – application and selection process

During Phase 1 (the first half of 1st year) students will be informed about the COMET programme and invited to contact key staff to express an interest. The COMET Lead is Dr Lynsay Crawford - lynsay.crawford@glasgow.ac.uk.  Taster sessions will be offered to those considering applying to COMET. These taster sessions would involve pairs of students spending a half day in a GP surgery to give a flavour of what a career in Primary Care would entail.

During the second half of Year 1 (Phase 2) students would apply for one of the 30 places on the COMET programme. Applications involve a 500-word essay +/- and interview.  Successful applicants would then follow the COMET curriculum, in addition to the core MBChB during years 2-5.

In the event that a COMET student decides they wish to withdraw from the programme (at any point in the curriculum) they are free to do so. Any vacancies created would then be available to students, who have registered their interest in COMET, to apply for a place.

General Practice – information and resources

COMET Video