Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Care of the Older Person (COOP)

All students spend time with a GP tutor learning about medicine for older people from a Primary Care perspective in a local General Practice in the Health of the Older Person, Ophthalmology, Oncology, Psychiatry & ENT (HOPE) module. 

GP teaching takes place on either a Wednesday or Thursday mornings over three consecutive weeks, and there are twelve placements in an academic year.

Community placements in Care of the Older Person (COOP) offer medical students an important community perspective. In hospital, patients often have more extreme and disabling illnesses, as well as higher mortality rates than in the community, which may slant students' experiences of the older person in an unrealistic way.

In the community they can gain a different insight, from the older person living a normal healthy life, to those managing with chronic conditions, and those requiring more intensive help either at home or in alternative residential accommodation.


The broad aim of the programme is to practise core clinical skills as applied to the assessment of older people (with emphasis on integrated examination and CNS and functional assessment). In addition to this, the course aims:

  • To introduce students to appropriate professional behaviours
  • To focus on common health problems experienced by older people living in the community
  • To develop further the clinical skills of history taking and examination
  • To develop the skills of clinical reasoning in reaching appropriate diagnosis
  • To develop sound management plans which include a holistic patient approach i.e. considers physical, psychological and social interventions
  • To develop a positive attitude to health issues in Care of the Older Person ensuing equality in health provision
  • To have knowledge of the carer's role either informally or in terms of community resources and services
  • To promote reflection, discussion and develop the personal and professional attributes of a life-long learner
Student Information

Please ensure you provide feedback on Care of the Older Person (COOP) teaching when emailed about this subsequent to the placement.


Please note that attendance of all community-based teaching is compulsory, and will be monitored as part of your firm assessment. 

Patients are usually asked specially to attend for your teaching sessions so, if for any reason you are unable to attend, it is essential that you email medsch.year5@ucl.ac.uk as soon as possible, and also contact the practice that is expecting you. It is not generally acceptable to ask a colleague to pass on the message. 

Any queries?

If you have any questions about COOP GP placements, please contact Dr Melvyn Jones.

For further information students should refer to the following:

GP Tutor Information

Attendance of General Practice sessions is compulsory. Students are told that should exceptional circumstances arise and they are unable to attend a placement, they should immediately inform Medical Student Administration and the practice which is expecting them. 

If a student fails to attend without prior warning, please inform Dr Melvyn Jones as soon as possible.

It is not considered appropriate for students who are suddenly unwell, or unfit to attend, to inform you of this via another student. If this happens, please let us know.

Concerns about students

If you have any concerns of a pastoral or educational nature about any students, please contact Dr Melvyn Jones.