Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD for doctors working in anaesthesia, intensive care and pain medicine
- The College expects every doctor to undertake a minimum of 50 hours CPD per year, though most doctors undertake more than this.
- All doctors in non-training grades should participate in CPD.
- You must remain competent and up to date in all areas of your practice.
- You are responsible for identifying and planning your individual CPD needs, bearing in mind
- Your personal fields of practice,
- Anticipated changes and developments, and
- The needs of the service.
- CPD should include a variety of activities, including
- Formal and informal learning activities, and
- Local and regional/national activities.
- Employers should help to facilitate CPD.
- You must regularly reflect on what you have learned.
The full RCoA Guidance for Continuing Professional Development is available here.
RCoA resources to support CPD
The College offers a number of resources to support doctors with their CPD.
CPD Online Diary – a ‘one stop’ solution to support consultant and career grade doctors in planning and recording their educational and professional development activities. Access is free to subscribing Fellows and Members of the College.
CPD Matrix – a resource designed to assist anaesthetists and appraisers in their appraisal discussions and to help guide individual CPD requirements as part of the personal development plan.
CPD event approval – a free of charge service for NHS Trusts and hospital boards, registered charities, specialist societies and associations. The benefits of CPD approval by the College include that approved events are featured in the directory of approved courses and events on the College website and can use the RCoA’s revalidation logo.
Online learning with the Oxford Journals – The British Journal of Anaesthesia (BJA) and BJA Education (formerly CEACCP) are available free of charge to Members of the College. BJA Education online offers an MCQ test for each article, for which a ‘pass’ generates a PDF certificate of completion, and reading the BJA online also counts as an approved CPD personal activity.
Webcasts – free video recordings of lectures (including lecture slides) from selected RCoA events which can be recorded as personal study for CPD credits.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) FAQs
- What should an anaesthetist who works largely in intensive care medicine cover in his or her CPD?
- If I am taking a career break of less than a year should I continue to keep up with my CPD?
- I am currently working abroad as an anaesthetist but plan to return to the UK in the near future. How should I keep up with my CPD?
- Are there any rules on how many CPD credits I can claim for different CPD activities?
- Can I claim CPD credits for clinical visits?
- Is there further guidance to help document my reflection on and learning from CPD?
- How should I develop the objectives for my personal development plan?
- Can I claim CPD credits for work on guideline development groups?
What should an anaesthetist who works largely in intensive care medicine cover in his or her CPD?
A doctor will be revalidated against his or her whole medical practice and CPD that is narrowly focussed towards intensive care medicine is insufficient if the doctor undertakes clinical anaesthesia. A doctor predominantly working in intensive care medicine but who has some anaesthetic committment will need to do an appropriate amount of anaesthesia-related CPD to satisfy their appraiser.
If I am taking a career break of less than a year should I continue to keep up with my CPD?
Yes. Much of your CPD will be through personal study e.g. e-Learning and reading journal articles. We recommend that you make up any annual shortfalls over the course of a 5 year cycle. Discuss with your appraiser your plans for CPD before and after your career break. The College has published specific guidance on returning to work after a career break.
I am currently working abroad as an anaesthetist but plan to return to the UK in the near future. How should I keep up with my CPD?
If you are working abroad you should continue with your CPD via available educational activities, e.g. local events and meetings, e-Learning, keeping up to date with the journal literature and other forms of personal study, and delivering teaching and training. Should you return to the UK and you are called to revalidate, evidence of your CPD whilst working abroad may be a useful source of supporting information in your appraisal and revalidation portfolio.
Are there any rules on how many CPD credits I can claim for different CPD activities?
Whilst the College guidance used to be quite prescriptive about maximum amounts which could be claimed, this was relaxed in response to the GMC updating its guidance on CPD in June 2012. The College CPD guidance does not now stipulate a ceiling as to how many CPD credits a doctor can claim for most of their CPD activities (1 hour of learning equals 1 CPD credit) – the exception being examining or observing postgraduate examinations, where a maximum of two days per year would normally be recognised.
However, this guidance does not remove the necessity to maintain a broad-based CPD portfolio. We strongly encourage participation in a variety / broad range of activities – through meeting minimum credit levels, i.e. 20 external / 20 internal (of which 10 should be from local clinical governance meetings) towards the recommended minimum of 50 credits each year. Another key message is that repeated claiming of CPD credits where there has been no new learning / educational benefit should be avoided, which should help to put a realistic amount upon the number of credits being claimed.
As with all completed CPD activities doctors will need to document their reflective comments – what they have learnt, how this will impact on their patients and the services in which they work, and any further learning needs.
Can I claim CPD credits for clinical visits?
Visiting hospitals, departments and specialist units would attract external CPD credits. Credits should only be claimed if the visit involved observation and assessment of practice (ideally, against published standards) in anaesthesia. The recording of any CPD credits should be accompanied by documented personal reflection and details of learning gained from such clinical visits.
Is there further guidance to help document my reflection on and learning from CPD?
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has produced guidance on reflection, which is available here. Reflection on your own standard of practice is an integral part of your development and appraisal. You should also reflect on what you learn from your CPD activities, and consider the impact on your patients and the services in which you work.
- Specific − should be explicit and clear and recorded in a way that could be easily understood by an appraiser and Responsible Officer
- Measurable − based on meeting an appropriate benchmark or standard prescribed when setting the goal, and therefore helping to judge whether the goal has been achieved or not
- Achievable − given the anaesthetist’s stage in their career and professional development and the resources (including time, funding etc) available
- Relevant − should address the priority learning and development needs identified by an anaesthetist for his or her professional practice, job plan, departmental activities and career aspirations
- Time-bound – an agreed specified time for achieving and reviewing the objective
There is no minimum or maximum number of objectives for a PDP, although many doctors identify around three to five every year.
Can I claim CPD credits for work on guideline development groups?
If you are involved in work reviewing, preparing or writing guidelines on behalf of an internal (e.g. your department or hospital) or external organisation (e.g. College, specialty association, NICE) you are entitled to claim CPD credits. These can either be Internal or External CPD credits depending on who the work is for – although the majority of the work in writing guidelines centres around private study and preparation, and this is an Internal activity. In order to claim credits it is generally required that you record the new learning that has taken place, your reflection on it, and any change in practice that will actually or potentially follow.
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