Continuous professional development (CPD) Continuous professional development (CPD)

To paraphrase the GMC, your CPD should keep you up to date and competent in all the work that you do. It should affirm what you do well, address areas requiring improvement and explore new knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Presenting CPD within your appraisal

We advise doctors to aim for broadly 50 CPD credits each year. One credit is generally thought of as an hour of CPD; this works out at around an hour's learning a week and achieving this will probably be relatively simple for most GPs. The trick, therefore, is to give your appraiser a flavour of what you've done by recording a variety of learning methods and subjects from across the past year that are most relevant to your work.

The GMC goes on to advise that CPD should

  • cover your full scope of work
  • be relevant to the skills and knowledge you need in your areas of practice
  • focus on outcomes and outputs - and include reflection

Rather than submitting a long list of all the training courses you've attended, instead choose CPD activities that demonstrate varied learning and cover your scope of work.

Above all, you should aim to highlight what you've learned, how you have reflected upon it, how you have applied this to your daily practice and what the impact has been. The GMC is very clear that you should reflect upon your learning and discuss your reflections during your appraisal.

What counts as CPD…and what doesn't

There are many things you can claim CPD for. And just a few that you can't. Basically, if your learning can be classed as ‘professional development' it will count towards your CPD credits. This includes clinical case meetings, training courses, e-learning, reading, PUNs & DENs. You can also ‘double count' for activities such as case reviews, audits and SEAs that you might list elsewhere in your appraisal.

There is a small list of things you should avoid counting within your CPD, including:

  • Meetings (business, practice, LMC, CCG etc.) unless you can demonstrate specific learning (i.e. don't just list meetings, include learning points and your reflections).
  • Mandatory training (fire safety, health and safety etc.). The exceptions to this rule are BLS and adult and child safeguarding levels 2 and 3 as these are directly related to patient care.
  • Teaching sessions. However, you can claim for personal learning as a result of preparation for teaching as long as you provide some evidence of this.