In March 2020, due to the escalating global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, clinical placements for most medical students in the UK were suspended. A phased resumption of clinical placements started at the beginning of academic year 2020/2021. For the Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine programme (ScotGEM), 2020/21 was the first year that Dundee School of Medicine’s comprehensive LIC was extended to all 54 students in the penultimate year of the ScotGEM programme. This cross-sectional qualitative study explored aspects of tutors’ experiences of supporting LIC students in their practices. Thematic analysis of the data identified significant themes relating to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the organisation of the LIC placements and the experiences of the tutors, and the ways in which they adapted placements to the rapidly changing clinical and social landscapes. The changes necessitated by the pandemic posed significant challenges for practice-based tutors in ensuring that students had valuable educational experiences despite the constraints of social distancing requirements and the reduction in face-to-face consultations. However, tutors also identified several positive aspects of the changes which will be of interest to those involved in the organisation and delivery of both LIC and shorter General Practice based clinical attachments. Positive relationships between LIC students and practices enhanced the success of LIC placements. We will discuss how lessons learned from the experience of tutors in the pandemic could be used in the longer term to enrich the LIC experience and General Practice placements more generally.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Cite as

McElhinney, Z., Hoskison, G. & Bartlett, M. 2023, 'LIC in the time of COVID: experiences of LIC tutors during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland', Education for Primary Care. https://doi.org/10.1080/14739879.2022.2161423

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Last updated: 09 February 2023
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