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Palliative care teaching in the new internal medicine curriculum: Project ECHO–an innovative approach to postgraduate education
  1. Gemma Claire Lee1,2,
  2. Sam Kyeremateng3,4,
  3. Paul Taylor3,5,
  4. Colin Jones2,6,
  5. Peter Hammond2,7 and
  6. Laura McTague8
  1. 1 Intensive Care, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool, FY3 8NR, UK
  2. 2 School of Medicine, Health Education England, Leeds, UK
  3. 3 Palliative Care, St Luke's Hospice, Sheffield, UK
  4. 4 Palliative Care, Health Education England, Leeds, UK
  5. 5 School of Health and Related Research, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  6. 6 Renal Medicine, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, York, UK
  7. 7 Endocrine Medicine, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, Harrogate, UK
  8. 8 Palliative Care, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gemma Claire Lee, Intensive Care, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, FY3 8NR Blackpool, UK; gemma.lee9{at}


Background The Internal Medicine Training (IMT) Programme is an evolution of Core Medical Training introduced in 2019. The IMT curriculum places an increased emphasis on palliative care; however, access to palliative care training is variable. Project ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes) develops communities of practice and is a valuable tool for medical education. We report on an evaluation of Project ECHO to deliver palliative medicine training across a geographically large deanery in the North of England.

Methods The Project ECHO training programme involved multipoint video technology, telementoring, expert talks and case-based discussions over six sessions, and was fully mapped to the palliative care component of the IMT curriculum. We collected data particularly around attendance and self-reported confidence and knowledge.

Results By creating a community of practice, we provided virtual placements and over 9 hours of virtual direct contact with palliative medicine consultants; and in total, 921 individual attendances occurred, with 62% attending all six sessions. The course was associated with an increase in self-reported confidence and high satisfaction.

Discussion Project ECHO is an effective method of delivering teaching to trainees across a large geographical area. Course evaluation shows outstanding results in trainee satisfaction, confidence, knowledge, patient care, clinical skills and reduction in fear when managing death and dying.

  • Education and training
  • Communication
  • COVID-19
  • Symptoms and symptom management
  • Clinical decisions
  • Ethics

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  • Contributors All authors contributed. The main author contributed to all stages of the work—planning, writing, conducting and reporting of the work. PT was the primary editor and proofreader of this work. SK was the primary ECHO structure lead and involved in planning and conduct. PH developed and created funding and infrastructure for ECHO, and was involved in planning of the work. LM was the primary ECHO delivery lead and involved in the conduct and delivery of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.