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Practitioners with Special Interest

PG Diploma
Duration: 18 months
Attendance mode: Part-time
Award: PG Diploma
Not suitable for international students
Start date: View attendance dates
Faculty of Health Studies
Apply Prospectus downloads


This programme enables practitioners to gain a formally recognised standard of competence in their chosen area of Special Interest. It is taught and run by advanced clinicians, allied health professionals and service improvement specialists. It is designed for General Practitioners, Nurse Specialists and other medical professionals working in the specialty clinical environment.

There are four distinct versions of the Diploma, tailored to the following specialisms:

  • Cardiology
  • Diabetes
  • Gynaecology
  • Musculoskeletal Medicine with Rheumatology

As a part-time diploma, this programme contains a large element of work-based learning. Attendance is only required for a total of eight study days on five separate occasions throughout the 18 months, so is accessible to students nationally.

This well established programme is delivered by The Ridge Training Ltd., as an external partner to the Faculty of Health Studies at the University of Bradford. This falls under the collaborative provision regulations, so although the Programmes are taught wholly by The Ridge, quality assurance and assessment are governed by the University of Bradford regulations.

The programme structure is specifically designed to encourage the development of the specialist practitioner role, by encouraging collaborative clinical work-based training between the practitioner and the clinical mentor.  The issues of ethics and informed consent are an integrated part of the students’ daily practice, and it is implicit in all the modules that there is conformity to the usual standards and guidelines in these areas.

During the programme the emphasis is on critical thinking, reflective learning and the practice of evidence-based medicine.  Students are enabled to directly apply their learning to their current and future roles.

Each module has a number of set learning outcomes, and it is up to you, together with your self-identified local clinical mentor, to identify your learning needs and generate the training plan to fulfil these learning outcomes. You will have a teaching day on the clinical content of each module, after which you will attend at least 14 sessions in suitable clinics of your choice over a period of 6 months (clinical attachment). At the end of this period you will have to demonstrate your competency in managing patients, and an ability to critically reflect on your own practice.

Any module can be selected as a standalone if students do not wish to complete the whole programme. On successful completion of their chosen modules students will be awarded a Certificate. Students who successfully complete all modules gain the Diploma, and will be able to progress to the MSc for Practitioners with Special Interest if they wish. Students who successfully complete the Diploma will have greater breadth of knowledge of cardiology than those who complete the Certificate.

Professional Accreditation/Recognition

The Cardiology for Practitioners with a Special Interest version of the Diploma is accredited by the British Cardiovascular Society.

BCS accreditation logo

The Musculoskeletal Medicine with Rheumatology for Practitioners with a Special Interest version of the Diploma is endorsed by the Primary Care Rheumatology Society.

primary care rheumatology society accreditation logo

Why Bradford?

The programme is attached to the Faculty of Health Studies, which is recognised both nationally and internationally for the excellence of its programmes and graduates. 

Bradford was one of the first areas in the country to establish specialised training, initially for GPs, quickly broadening out to include nurse specialists and other professionals allied to health.

About The Ridge Training Ltd.

The Ridge Training Ltd. logo

The PwSI Programmes are delivered at the premises of The Ridge Medical Practice, in Bradford.  The programme director is Dr Chris Harris; born and bred in Bradford, he has been involved with the courses since their inception in 2003. He is a Senior Partner at The Ridge, a PwSI and he has a clinical leadership role at Bradford CCG.

In his PwSI role, Dr Harris leads a team of enthusiastic and highly specialised clinical tutors who are passionate about delivering the Programmes to a high standard and who are dedicated to creating an excellent student experience. We currently have 22 tutors; practising advanced clinicians and service improvement specialists.

As the programme tutors are employed within the specialist sectors that they teach on, they are able to ensure that the contents of the programmes are clinically sound, contemporaneous and appropriate to the changing workforce within the NHS. Students are provided with high quality work-based learning through their relationship with their clinical mentor within an attachment for each clinical module. In addition to the clinical tutors, subject specialists are invited to provide complementary and additional teaching on the Programmes e.g. Physiotherapists on the MSK programme, ECG specialist on the Cardiology programme.

Gynaecology clinical tutors:

  • Dr Julie Ayres
  • Dr Virginia Beckett
  • Dr Sue Calvert
  • Dr Ann Connolly 
  • Dr Christine Corrin  

Cardiology clinical tutors:

  • Professor Ahmet Fuat
  • Dr Kathryn Griffith 
  • Dr Chris Harris
  • Dr Clare Hawley 
  • Dr Steven Lindsay
  • Prof Jerry Murphy

MSK & Rheumatology clinical tutors:

  • Dr Mark Brook
  • Dr John Dickson
  • Dr Adrian Dunbar
  • Dr Phil Helliwell
  • Dr Michael Horsfield
  • Dr Andrew Jackson
  • Dr Jean Wong

Physiotherapy Support:

  • Jamie Bell
  • Richard Kunz

Diabetes clinical tutors:

  • Margaret Bannister
  • Dr Kathryn Griffith

Applied Methodology (non-clinical module) tutors:

  • Darren Lee
  • Kate MacKay

Entry requirements

The University welcomes applications from all potential students and most important in the decision to offer a place is our assessment of a candidate’s potential to benefit from their studies and of their ability to succeed on this particular programme. Consideration of applications will be based on a combination of formal academic qualifications and other relevant experience.

The standard entry requirements for the programme are as follows:

  • Students must be a suitably qualified registered primary or secondary care practitioner, demonstrating successful study skills at level 6, with at least two years relevant work experience
  • Students must obtain written support from an NHS hospital trust consultant or Advanced Clinician (GMC Registered), in their Specialty for mentorship and the provision of a clinical attachment
  • Students must produce evidence of relevant registered qualification, currency and academic qualifications

Applications are welcome from students with non-standard qualifications or mature students (those over 21 years of age on entry) with significant relevant experience.

English language requirements:

As the assessment elements of the postgraduate diploma require a substantial amount of written work at level 7, in accordance with regulations from the University of Bradford we ask that non-native speakers complete an IELTS English Language Exam at a minimum of 6.5 before they begin their studies.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Each module is worth 30 level 7 credits; this nominally equates to 300 hours of work.

120 credits are required to achieve Diploma level.

Certificate level can be achieved by completion of Applied Methodology plus one or two clinical modules.

Cardiology specialism

View programme specification

The British Cardiology Society accredit this programme

There are 3 clinical modules, each takes 6 months to complete:

  • Ischaemic Heart Disease
  • Hypertension and Arrhythmia
  • Heart Failure and Valvular Disease

Plus a non-clinical module – Applied Methodology. The assignments for this can be completed across the 18 months.

MSK with Rheumatology

View programme specification

The Primary Care Rheumatology Society (PCR) endorse this programme.

There are 3 clinical modules, each takes 6 months to complete:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Limb and Inflammatory Arthropathies
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Lower Limb and Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Spine and Chronic Widespread Pain Disorders

Plus a non-clinical module – Applied Methodology. The assignments for this can be completed across the 18 months.


View programme specification

There are 3 clinical modules, each takes 6 months to complete:

  • Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, Pelvic Pain and Fertility
  • Family Planning, Sexual Health and Cervical Pathology
  • Menopausal Issues, Gynaecological Cancers, Incontinence and Prolapse

Plus a non-clinical module – Applied Methodology. The assignments for this can be completed across the 18 months.


View programme specification

There are 3 clinical modules, each takes 6 months to complete:

  • Diagnosis and Management of Diabetes; Gaining Glycaemic Control
  • Diabetes Intensification of Therapy and Living with Diabetes
  • Diabetes Care Delivery and the Detection and Management of Complications

Plus a non-clinical module – Applied Methodology. The assignments for this can be completed across the 18 months.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

A variety of teaching methods is employed in the programme, to enable students to fulfil the varied modular learning outcomes.

The learning within the programme is gained through:

Face-to-face tuition: this occurs at the beginning of each module in Bradford.  Tutors are available by email if required during placement periods to handle learning queries.  Tutors are clinical practitioners (consultant specialists and PwSIs).

Work-based learning: this forms the central part of the programme of study, in the form of clinical placements – each six month module should contain at least 14 weeks of hands-on practical study in a secondary care environment.  This learning is undertaken on placement in the locality, under the supervision of a clinical mentor. Students approach the mentor in the first instance: they must be a GMC registered consultant/Advanced clinician in whose name appears on a national register of practitioners, and who has teaching experience. The clinical mentor will receive a specific Mentor Guide including advice and support from the course management team in fulfilling the role of mentor.  

Guided reading (given by tutor and mentor): this complements the placement and enables you to fulfil the theoretical background necessary for your placement activities, and prepares you for your written and presentational assignments.  e-learning: the virtual learning environment gives access to the peer group and tutors during placement, facilitating learning through clinical discussion, as well as providing support.

Local research and application: The AM module involves working within the healthcare community to apply 3 different methodologies; learning takes place during the activities of researching and reading information, planning, preparation and application of these.

Assessment is designed to enable you to have a rounded measurement of the skills needed for your role in the healthcare community.

Clinical competence is verified through mentor signature after observation (by mentor and where appropriate other relevant clinical professionals) and discussion during the placement periods.

The issues of ethics and informed consent are an integrated part of the students’ daily practice, and it is implicit in all the modules that there is conformity to the usual standards and guidelines in these areas.

Optionality is available to students studying for the Certificate in their choice of modules.  It is available to students studying for the Diploma in the choice of cases for the written reflective studies and the presentations.

Career support and prospects

Career support

All of the students are employed within their specialties, and are able therefore to directly enhance service delivery by application of learning to their clinical practice.

Achievement of the qualification can also provide new employment opportunities and promotions. Students can progress to the MSc on completion of the Postgraduate Diploma.

Study Support

Students can access the extensive Study Support resources provided by the University.

See: Learning Resources

Further support offered by the University include:

  • Disability Services
  • 24 hour access to the JB Priestley Library
  • 24 hour access to some computer clusters on the main campus
  • Excellent access to the Library’s online resources
  • A dedicated distance learning librarian, and a dedicated Faculty of Health Studies librarian
  • The Health Studies collection within the JB Priestley library.

Further programme specific support is provided:

Induction takes place on the first day of the teaching programme. Students are guided through an overview of their chosen programme and the Blackboard system, where all the relevant documents are placed.

The programme tutors and the programme co-ordinator are committed to supporting students as they progress. They provide advice and guidance for all students on all aspects of the course both academically, administratively and pastorally.

Students are able to access the programme co-ordinator and tutors via individual contact (face to face, email or telephone).

Students working at the MSc level are expected to liaise on a regular basis with their project supervisor.


Students will be learning at The Ridge premises, which are located at Cousen Road, Bradford. BD7 3JX.

The Ridge Medical Practice

This is a quality venue, well equipped and an easily accessible location.

Find out more on The Ridge website.


  • Parking on site and nearby on street
  • Full disabled access via lift
  • Disabled toilet access

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees

Course fee for students starting in 2016/17:

  • Home/EU: £6,000

Fees are payable to The Ridge Training Ltd.

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

Contact the PwSI course manager to apply, and for further information:

Pearl Jolly

Tel: 01274 425654

The Ridge Medical Practice
Cousen Road
Bradford, BD7 3JZ

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.