Why so many interprofessional education (IPE) initiatives have been reported in so many countries since the 1960s defies easy explanation. Some were responding to needs locally to improve working relations in primary and community care teams; others to calls to integrate health and social care services, implement workforce strategies, or remedy lapses in collaboration between professions; yet others to the lead given by the World Health Organization (WHO) to transform professional education and practice. Small wonder if mounting expectations raised doubts whether IPE could deliver.
The interprofessional movement thrives where conditions are conducive; where openness and mutual support in the workplace characterise relations; where democratisation in universities liberalises learning; where the need for change to improve health and social care is addressed. Sustaining progress depends, as this review confirms, on the readiness of interprofessional exponents to set aside professional protectionism and academic rivalry as they support each other across borders and boundaries.
We strive to capture the dynamic driving the interprofessional movement in a growing number of countries over half a century as we piece together the story from disparate sources augmenting and updating material first published in 2000 on the CAIPE website – www.caipe.org.uk – before being revised as a chapter in Meads and Ashcroft (2005). Initiatives cited are indicative in time and place. Accessible sources are weighted towards university rather than employment, pre-qualifying rather than post-qualifying and explicit rather than tacit interprofessional learning. Omission should not be taken as implying absence.