Healthcare & Medical
CPD by Industry

CPD in the Healthcare & Medical sector

Overview of the Healthcare & Medical Sector

Whether by professional body obligation or as a voluntary option, almost every professional within the medical & healthcare sectors undertakes some form of Continuing Professional Development. Many countries already have established CPD in the medical & healthcare sectors, with more countries taking steps towards a national CPD framework.

CPD can be defined as the continuing education of healthcare professionals following the completion of formal training. The Department of Health states; “In the NHS, CPD is determined through appraisals with personal development plans agreed between individuals and their managers. A key development in ensuring that healthcare professionals maintain their competence is the move among regulatory bodies to develop CPD strategies for the revalidation/re-certification of their members.”

CPD for the Healthcare & Medical Sector

There are over 30 professional bodies and associations within the healthcare & medical sectors all with implemented CPD policies. Professional bodies in the healthcare & medical sectors requiring CPD include; British Medical Association, General Medical Council, General Dental Council, British Dental Association, Royal College of Nursing, Institute of Nursing, Nurses & Midwives Council, British Psychological Society, Health and Care Professions Council, Royal College of Physicians, National Pharmaceutical Association and the General Optical Council.

The General Medical Council states;" Continuing Professional Development and Continuing Medical Education are frequently used interchangeably, most literature has now defined CME as being an ingredient of CPD. CPD is a process that includes continuing medical education. Many countries are now moving from a knowledge and skills-based CME system, towards a system that promotes the wide-ranging competencies needed to practice high quality medicine."

CPD for Doctors / Surgeons / Physicians

All licensed practicing doctors, surgeons and physicians are expected to complete annual CPD in order to keep up to date and be seen as fit for practice. Good medical practice requires doctors, surgeons and physicians to be responsible for identifying their CPD needs, plan how these are addressed, and partake in CPD activities which should maintain and improve the standards of their work.

Doctors must complete revalidation every 5 years, which includes providing evidence that CPD has been completed. Specific CPD requirements for specific professions such as for surgeons and physicians are outlined by the appropriate Royal Colleges of Medicine in their respective fields. Typically doctors, surgeons and physicians are expected to complete a minimum of 250 hours of CPD over a 5 year period, averaging out as 50 hours per annum.

CPD for Nurses / Nursing / Midwives

CPD is considered by the Royal College of Nursing as a fundamental element to the role of any nurse by which high quality patient care is identified, maintained and developed. The Royal College of Nursing considers 45 hours of CPD suitable in any given year, and the Nurses & Midwives Council state all midwives and nurses must undertake at least 35 hours of relevant learning every 3 years.

CPD for Dentists

Dentists and dental professionals are required to undertake Continuing Professional Development to maintain registration at the General Dental Council, which includes learning activities that contribute to professional development relevant to their practice, and maintains the GDC Standards of patient protection. Dentists must complete at least 250 hours of CPD every five years, of which 75 hours should be verifiable CPD in recommended topic areas. Dental Professionals must complete 150 hours of CPD every five years, of which 50 hours should be verifiable CPD in recommended topic areas.

CPD for Opticians / Optometrists

The General Optical Council states that fully-qualified optometrists and opticians must complete Continuing Education and Training (CET) on a scheme run over a 3 year period. Optometrists must complete 36 CET points over the 3 year period. Opticians and Optometrists are expected to manage their CET points over the 3 year period, completing a minimum of 6 CET points in any given year. However the number of points awarded for a CET activity does not relate to the time duration of the activity. CET points reflect the level of engagement required and the extent to which the activity supports reflection. The GOC example explains that peer discussion and clinical skills training would carry more CET points than attendance at lectures or article-based study.

CPD for Pharmaceutical / Pharmacists / Pharmacy

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the regulator for pharmacists and pharmacy professionals in England, Scotland and Wales. The CPD requirements set by the GPhC apply equally to all pharmacy professionals. The GPhC encourages pharmacists & pharmaceutical professionals to complete a variety of learning over a five year period which includes both formal CPD and experiential learning. The scheme for pharmacy professionals focuses on the CPD cycle of reflection, planning, action and evaluation and expects pharmacists & pharmaceutical professionals to make at least nine entries in their CPD record per year.

CPD for Psychiatrists / Psychology

Psychiatrists are expected to complete 50 credits of CPD every year, and meet with an associated peer group for discussion at least 4 times per year. Of these 50 credits, Psychiatrists involved in clinical practice must complete 30 hours of clinical CPD from this quota. The British Psychology Society recommends members complete between ½ – 1 full days of CPD every month. 

  • General Medical Council (GMC)
  • British Medical Association (BMA)
  • General Dental Council (GDC)
  • British Dental Association (BDA)
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • Institute of Nursing (IoN)
  • Nurses & Midwives Council
  • Royal College of Surgeons
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • National Pharmaceutical Association
  • General Optical Council (GOC)
  • General Osteopathic Council
  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA)
  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
  • Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists
  • Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health
  • Royal College of Pathologists
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal College of Radiologists
  • College of Chiropractors

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