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Continuing Professional Development

CPD (known as Continuing Personal or Professional Development) is defined by the General Medical Council (GMC) as the following:

‘Any learning outside of undergraduate education or postgraduate training that helps you maintain and improve your performance. It covers the development of your knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours across all areas of your professional practice. It includes both formal and informal learning activities.’

It is a structured and ongoing learning process to help you monitor and improve your personal performance and ensure you maintain and develop current, relevant professional skills to evidence you are up-to-date and fit to practice.

How much CPD should I do?

There is no particular amount of CPD specified by the GMC as required. Simply, it is your responsibility to ensure you do enough appropriate CPD to remain up-to-date and fit to practice. You will need to be able to demonstrate this at your annual appraisal.

CPD schemes or guidance to support doctors in maintaining and developing their professional standards in their specialty have been developed by most medical royal colleges and faculties. These schemes tend to require doctors to obtain a specified number of CPD credits over five years. Visit your medical royal college’s website for more information.

Typically, most schemes recommend 50 hours worth of CPD a year.

What activities count towards CPD?

Your CPD should constitute planned activities as identified in your PDP (Personal Development Plan) as discussed with your appraiser.

Your CPD should be a mix of formal and informal learning, independent to your undergraduate and postgraduate education. It should include activities that take place locally where you work, as well as at regional, national or international levels.

Activities could include;
  • Attending an approved course by a medical collage.
  • Attending a specialist medical event, conference or clinical workshop.
  • Undertaking a CPD e-learning course/module as run by an accredited online programme (e.g. Royal College, BMJ – see useful links).
  • Reading professional books or journal articles.
  • Post-graduate teaching, educational supervision, examining and publishing.
  • Peer-group meetings – peer reviews and peer tutoring.
  • Non-clinical professional development – e.g. management training, communication skills and Information Technology (IT) training.
It is vital that keep a record of your CPD activities and evidence the impact of your learning for review at your appraisals. This will help dictate future PDPs.

Using CPD to support your revalidation

CPD forms a vital part of the revalidation process and demonstrates your commitment to learning.

You will need to bring a summary of your CPD activities to your annual appraisal to show that you have met the requirements for revalidation

During your appraisal you will be asked to reflect on your personal performance and your appraiser will help you identify areas to focus your CPD over the four following areas:
  1. Knowledge, skills and performance.
  2. Safety and quality.
  3. Communication, partnership and teamwork.
  4. Maintaining trust.
For more information on revalidation, please click here.

Useful Links to e-learning platforms

BMJ: http://learning.bmj.com/learning/home.html
doctors.net: http://about.doctors.net.uk/Member-Benefits/Education

For further guidance on CPD as issued by the General Medical Council, please click here.