Preparation of the Winterthur-Doha Declaration
At the closing of the All Together Better Health 5 Conference held in Sydney, Australia, in April 2010, attendees released the Sydney Interprofessional Declaration. A collaborative declaration approved by, and issued on behalf of delegates, articulating their shared commitment to advance and strengthen the cause of interprofessional collaborative practice across the globe.
The declaration coincided with the publication of the WHO Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (2010) which provided guidance, in the form of proposed actions targeting education, practice, and system-level policies, that were intended to support the advancement and strengthening of interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice (IPC).
Following the ATBH 9 conference, held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2018, members of Interprofessional.Global’s policy working group initiated a global analysis of progress made towards achieving these actions and declarative articles. The articles presented within the Winterthur-Doha Declaration reflect the key findings of this analysis.
The decade following the release of these two aspirational documents demonstrated significant growth in the provision of IPE within health and social care worker training programs, and spread across the globe, supported by the development and utilization of interprofessional collaborative frameworks that identified key competencies/capabilities for collaborative practice. Growing momentum in the development of policies and frameworks that support IPE for the future workforce was also evident, exemplified in the inclusion of language requiring IPE as an accreditation/regulatory standard for many health and social care educational programs. This educational policy shift has been a notable driver in promulgating the growth of IPE for the next generation of care providers (addressing Article 3 of the Sydney Declaration).
Efforts to develop and support interprofessional education for the current workforce have been less evident. With a widespread lack of system-level policies or processes to support training in interprofessional collaborative practice or team-based care, for the current health and social care workforce.
Many of the advances in IPECP have been supported by temporary funding streams and we are a long way from answering the call for action to establish an environment where “workforce planning, financing, funding, and remuneration are supportive of interprofessional education and collaborative practice” (WHO, 2010 p.35).
Sustainability efforts must be a priority if past efforts and growth in IPECP are to be sustained.
With respect to the WHO Framework’s proposed actions to advance collaborative practice for improved health outcomes, much work is needed to create the necessary infrastructure to support the integration of collaborative practice models. “Governance models that establish teamwork and shared responsibilities for health-care service delivery” (WHO, 2010, p30.), are evident in some settings, but they are far from the norm.
Changes in the built environment, processes, personnel policies, funding models, and care delivery models and needed if collaborative practice is to become the norm. Such changes are needed to foster more agile systems that can tackle current and future complex societal challenges. As evidenced during the Covid -19 Global pandemic which has highlighted the importance and impact of teams trained in effective IPC. Interprofessional collaboration-ready teams have responded rapidly to practice and educational adjustments in response to the pandemic, highlighting the capacity of highly effective and adaptable interprofessional teams to support system-wide policy and practice adaptations.
The Winterthur-Doha Declaration is intended to build upon the advances and address the gaps in IPECP implementation evidenced over the last decade. Its articles address policies and actions necessary to sustain these achievementsand to build upon them for the next decade.