last updated:10/02/2021 @ 3:49 pm
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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is any learning outside of undergraduate education or postgraduate training that helps you maintain and improve your performance, with the ultimate aim of improving patient care. CPD 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.

Doctors have the responsibility, wherever they practise, always to remain competent and therefore up to date. If you wish to revalidate in the UK, it is your responsibility to complete enough appropriate CPD to remain up to date and fit to practise in your work and to be able to demonstrate this at your appraisal. This applies whether you’re in full-time or less than full-time practice, if you’re a locum or if you work wholly in private practice.

How much CPD do I need to complete?

Historically the FOM has recommended 50 CPD points per year. However, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has changed its guidance on CPD and, coupled with the intention of the GMC’s Pearson Review, the FOM has revised its guidance.

You no longer need to attain a set number of CPD points over a year or during the revalidation cycle. Instead, doctors simply need to demonstrate to their appraiser that they are undertaking CPD relevant to their scope of practice and their Personal Development Plan (PDP), and reflecting on how it has influenced their practice.

The appraiser has the discretion to decide whether a doctor has undertaken sufficient CPD in an appraisal year depending on the scope of work. They will use their judgement, based on their understanding of your practice, and the requirements of the work you do, to decide if you are undertaking sufficient CPD.

You no longer need to demonstrate a specific balance between internal/external and personal CPD. It is the quality and value of the CPD activity that is important. Doctors learn in different ways. For example, some will prefer online CPD or personal reading, which may be a better fit to their employment circumstances.

In general the greater balance of CPD should be external as it is felt interaction with peers, outside of your normal place of work, is valuable. This is especially the case for doctors who work in isolation and who may not otherwise be able to interact with a peer group.

Further information on CPD is available on the GMC’s website.