Since around the turn of this 21st century the need for interprofessional education (IPE) in health and social care has been highlighted by the UK government and given prominence in the media by some tragic cases resulting from lack of collaboration between professions. It is now increasingly recognised that a good understanding of the roles and relationships between the professions and the structures to facilitate this are essential to ensure the proper protection of the public. This occasional paper is a very welcome addition to the recent literature on lessons learned from practical experience in IPE. It brings together case studies from pilot ‘leading edge programmes’ developed by four collaborations between Higher Education Institutions and their Workforce Development Confederations in different parts of the UK. These were commissioned in 2001 by the Department of Health with the understanding that their evaluated findings would be disseminated to ensure wider application. Three of the case studies concentrate on practice learning using different approaches, and the fourth on restructuring of all health and social care curricula to allow for integration. The juxtaposition of these different approaches enables comparisons between them. The case studies are put into context by Hugh Barr who eloquently describes the changes in professional education policies and structures in the UK over the last 10 years, untangling the new from the old names and processes of the many regulatory bodies as well as reminding the reader of the distinction between ‘common learning’ and ‘interprofessional learning’.