Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine

Postgraduate Diploma Family Medicine


The Postgraduate Diploma Family Medicine programme is designed specifically for clinicians to build on your existing knowledge, skills and experience and develop mastery in the clinical and service aspects of Family Medicine.

  1. The Rila Institute of Health Sciences administers the programme, which is validated by the University of Plymouth
  2. This means that when you successfully complete all parts of the programme, you will receive the University of Plymouth qualification of a Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine, and may if you wish, attend the graduation ceremony.
  3. You will enrol as a student of the Rila Institute of Health Sciences and will be registered with the University.
  4. Should you not complete the full programme, then you will be provided with a transcript recording the individual elements of the programme successfully completed.

General information – Postgraduate Diploma Family Medicine:

  1. Rila Institute of Health Sciences has developed a Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine to be offered to students from the UK and overseas.
  2. The programme has been designed specifically for physicians either already employed or wishing to work in Family Medicine.
  3. The course runs over a year. For exact course dates and locations please check the website.
  4. The course integrates several components of learning. There are reading topics. Understanding of these core topics is assessed through a series of online Higher Order Thinking Questions.
  5. The reading topics i.e. resource learning material, which are specifically commissioned by Rila Institute of Health Sciences, cover the essential elements in developing core knowledge and skills in Family Medicine.
  6. Workshops/lectures are held at the start of the course in the international regional centre, but usually in the UK. This is structured to include lectures and a one day workshop relevant to developing a sound basis for Family Medicine.
  7. Workshop/lectures will also be held during the course.
  8. Situational Judgement Tests and Learning will provide experience in core domains for a clinician e.g. Professionalism, Patient Focus, Effective communication, Working under pressure, Working within a Team
  9. Assessment is partly by continuous assessment of the reading topics and mini-tests, both carried out online. There will also be a final examination held in the international regional centre or UK.

Structure of the Postgraduate Diploma:

  1. There are 3 modules comprising the Postgraduate Diploma level award.
  2. In each period of 5-7 days, a particular topic (detailed in the programme calendar) is studied by way of a specially written article. Each topic is assessed by way of Higher Order Thinking Questions, for which there is a deadline date. A number of timed mini-exams are conducted online, and the student is strongly recommended to participate in this activity.
  3. Workshop/lectures, held in the international regional centre at the start of each programme. This will provide tutorials, lectures and practical demonstrations.
  4. You will also have an opportunity to meet other doctors on the course and medical staff from the UK and overseas.
  5. There are usually workshops and interactive webinars during the course, depending on your programme of study and a final examination held at the international centre or in the UK.

Course Syllabus

Postgraduate Diploma comprises Modules 1, 2 and 3

Module 1: Core generic knowledge & skills

  • Determinants of health
  • Lifestyle factors in health
  • Identification of risk factors
  • Nutrition and health
  • Breaking bad news.

Module 2: Advances in Family Medicine

  • Topics include:
  • Systems assessments (cardiovascular, respiratory, abdomen, neurology, ophthalmology, ENT, musculoskeletal medicine, dermatology, male and female genitourinary), communicable diseases, screening, sexual health, emergencies (general principles, common emergencies, ABCD symptoms, dangerous diagnoses and urgent mental health), Tropical medicine (general tropical diseases, diarrhoea, oral rehydration and malnutrition), Chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, palliative care, HIV/Blood Borne Viruses and Care of the older person), antenatal care, family planning, breastfeeding, postnatal depression, childhood illnesses, childhood development, immunisation, child protection young people’s health, mental health promotion and diagnosis, depression, alcohol and substance misuse, severe mental health, dual diagnosis, learning disabilities, neuroses and stress

Module 3: Clinical Practice in Family Medicine

Clinical skills related to the following procedures. These are presented as a series of specially selected key video clips to enable you to understand the procedure and the steps required. Assessment of clinical skill competency is not within the remit of this award. You are strongly recommended to access hands-on clinical sessions with a local clinical specialist to further enhance your skills outside of the programme.

  • Auriscope.
  • Ophthalmoscope
  • Sphygmomanometer
  • Stethoscope
  • Foetal stethoscope and/or ‘Sonicaid’
  • Patella hammer
  • Thermometer
  • Tuning fork.
  • Visual acuity and colour tests
  • Proctoscope
  • Vaginal speculum
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation including use of a defibrillator
  • Controlling a haemorrhage
  • Venepuncture
  • Giving intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous or intradermal injections including via a syringe driver
  • Performing and interpreting an electrocardiogram
  • Performing basic respiratory function tests
  • Administering oxygen safely
  • Use of a nebuliser
  • Near patient testing e.g. urinalysis
  • Removal of ear wax
  • Passing a urinary catheter
  • Performing a cervical smear
  • Collecting other relevant samples including endocervical or per-nasal swabs

Minimum Requirements for the web learning aspects:

  1. A specific area of the Rila Institute of Health Sciences website is dedicated to the Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine.
  2. You will be issued with a user name and password.
  3. You MUST have computer access to the internet and it will be your responsibility to ensure that this is the case.
  4. The website will provide facilities such as Forums, a Bulletin Board, On-Line Chat Room etc.
  5. You will be provided with information on how to use the web site.

Admission criteria:

Participants admitted to this programme will need to meet the following criteria:

Provide a satisfactory reference from a senior health care practitioner or line manager with knowledge of your work and experience, and who is able to support your suitability to participate in the programme.

Plus, fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be in possession of an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) or
  • an equivalent medical degree from a World Health Organization recognised institution.

Note that if the medical degree or other qualification was not taught in the English language a score of 5.5, in all elements, in the British Council IELTS test, or equivalent (e.g. Test of English as a Foreign Language) will usually be required

Award of the Postgraduate Postgraduate Diploma:

  1. You are strongly recommended to complete the formative assessments related to each topic and the mini exams. Try and attain at least 50% marks.
  2. The final examination, to be held in the central location, is mandatory for all students.
  3. The final examination MUST be passed for the Diploma (Modules 1, 2 and 3) to be awarded.
  4. The final examination consists of a paper-based format of Higher Order Thinking Assessments (Single Best Option, Extended Matching Questions, and Clinical Quiz).
  5. The examiners are consultants and an external examiner(s) are appointed by University of Plymouth.


The Diploma is accredited/validated as follows:

  1. Validated by the University of Plymouth – awarding institution

Organisations involved

  1. University of Plymouth with whom the candidates are registered and who control the quality assurance and the award of the final diploma.
  2. UK based specialists in Family Medicine, provide the content, curriculum and clinical guidance, and host the final examination.
  3. Rila Institute of Health Sciences, London, which is a collaborative organisation of the University, provides all administrative and logistical support to the course.

Programme handbook and Extenuating circumstances
Full details of the PG Diploma and the process for extenuating circumstances and withdrawal can be found in the Programme Handbook.

If you have any questions, then upon request, our enrolment advisor will contact you with help and/or assistance with your application.

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