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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Principles of Primary Care CPD course

In autumn 2024, the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Exeter Medical School is launching a new part-time PG Certificate in Primary Care - Programme Lead Professor Alex Harding. If you wish to know more about this course please email: 

In April/May 2024 the CPD team delivered two successful hybrid 'Principles of Health Protection' taster days - see course details below. More are planned for 2025.    

What is Primary Care? What are its core principles? How does it deliver outstanding health outcomes?  

Public Health and Primary Care are key to the delivery of healthcare for populations from birth to old age. Primary care is also the most efficient form of care and the chosen way to deliver health for all (WHO). But there is sometimes a lack of understanding about its core principles and the evidence behind its efficiency. Knowledge of these key principles may give practitioners a new sense of pride in what they do and for policymakers may demystify some of the hype around primary care and general practice.  

This one-day course provides a unique insight into practical solutions to these issues and can help health professionals to make a meaningful impact in their communities – whether based in the UK or in other countries.  

Course expertise

The course is delivered by internationally recognised practitioners and researchers. They have been key contributors towards defining what primary care is and providing the evidence that underpins it:

  •  Professor Alex Harding – internationally recognised as a family practitioner, a highly regarded senior academic and researcher will lead the day with Dr Martyn Hewett, Experienced NHS GP and medical educator with a proven track record of leadership and innovation in healthcare and adult education.

For more details about the course including fees and delivery click on  Course details below

You can read about the origins of the course in this article, 'How Exeter is helping to strengthen primary care expertise globally'.

Alex Harding GP

Primary care delivers outstanding health outcomes

Students looking at notes

Delivery format

This one-day course provides a unique insight into practical solutions to issues around primary care and which will help health professionals to make a meaningful impact in their communities – whether based in the UK or in other countries.  

We will explore the core concepts of both primary care and its crossover into public health providing an integrated perspective.  

Participants will be offered a toolkit of practical skills enabling them to apply the learning in practice.  

The contact days focus on applying ideas to practise using a combination of small groups, masterclasses and interactive panel sessions. You will also have access to pre-course reading and resources and materials developed by the faculty.

After completing the course you will have also gained an insight into academic postgraduate study and the possibility of continuing your studies in education, public health and leadership.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Understand and evaluate the evidence that makes primary care the most effective type of healthcare
  2. Understand and apply key principles that may explain why primary care is so effective
  3. Apply some of these principles, such as consulting skills or managing change through practical training


Delegate rates

Standard course fee - £275

Early Bird rate for 16th April Course - £250 (until 5th March 2024)

Early Bird rate for 14th May Course - £250 (until 2nd April 2024)  

Doctors-in-training (SW Deaneries); IMGs new to NHS - NHSE sponsored - £0 (validation code required to sign up for this option; please contact for details).

*Includes access to pre-course reading and one day course - either via zoom or in-person at St Lukes Campus, University of Exeter 


Who is it for?

Designed for UK and international health professionals – those working in Primary Care, General Practitioners, Allied Health Professionals (nurses, radiographers, midwives, paramedics, Physician Associates, occupational therapists), Care Home staff, health policy makers, pharmacists, specialist doctors, individuals volunteering as Patient Participants in healthcare or research, NHS managers, third sector. 


Tuesday 16th April 2024 

Tuesday 14th May 2024



Title and Short Description


Refreshments in JS.07, Johnson Smeall Building, St Luke's Campus


Welcome, introductions and outline of the day


Why is Primary Care so important?

Exploring the work of Barbara Starfield and others suggesting that Primary Care is the most effective form of healthcare.




The core principles of Primary Care

If Primary Care is so effective, then how does it do this? We explore key principles of Primary Care using research and resources developed by the course faculty.


Lunch Break




Leading Primary Care teams and organisations though Change

We explore Kotter’s model of change and help you apply this model to change projects in which you are involved. 


Health promotion/behaviour change

Combining the stages of change model and motivational interviewing, we show you how to apply these in practice.


Concluding plenary, further reading, next steps etc.





Further resources will be provided when attending the study day.
Learning General Practice RCGP Textbook

You can access the textbook here:


Whether you study on-campus, virtually, or via a blended learning programme, you'll be supported by the University of Exeter's world-class faculty with wide-ranging opportunities to develop interdisciplinary and vocational skills.  Find out more.


Contact us

For enquiries about the course, please e-mail us.

Article: How Exeter is helping to strengthen primary care expertise globally

You can read about the origins of the course in this article.