About CPD, appraisal and revalidation

Common questions on the annual collection of CPD, plus how much to collect, are answered below.

 As part of the preparations for revalidation, the RCGP has advised that all GPs should already be collecting evidence of all their CPD activity and recording the number of CPD credits they earn. This learning can be for activities that improve the GP's knowledge and skills in any area of work, so credits can be claimed for clinical CPD, finance/practice management learning, development of teaching skills and so on. The CPD credits system is part of the strengthened annual appraisal system that will underpin revalidation. This evidence of CPD credits earned will be an important part of a GP's revalidation portfolio, on which PCT responsible officers will recommend GPs for revalidation and the licence to continue practising.  

By recording the hours spent doing CPD and the impact of that learning time. At its simplest, each recorded hour spent on any CPD activity (including planning and reflection time) will count as a single CPD credit. For, example completing an online CPD module for two hours would be two credits. However, the RCGP specifically states GPs cannot simply claim points without any further reflection on what they have learned and how they will use it in practice. GPs will be expected to keep evidence of the learning points gained and the relevance of the activity to their work to justify their claim of CPD credits.  

According to the GMC, the roll-out of revalidation will begin in late 2012. Under the new streamlined revalidation process unveiled by the GMC in March 2011, evidence of continuing professional development (CPD) will be one of six areas of information that every doctor will be expected to present at their annual appraisal. Growing numbers of PCTs are also asking GPs to produce evidence at each annual appraisal of the number of CPD credits they have collected over the preceding year - and this trend towards more rigorous appraisal is likely to gather pace over the next couple of years, with PCTs that have been slow to strengthen the appraisal process coming under pressure to do so.  

Health secretary Andrew Lansley asked the GMC to simplify its revalidation proposals to ensure the cost is proportionate to the benefits. This resulted in the new 'streamlined' proposals for revalidation that were published in March 2011. Under this system, GPs will have to produce evidence at each annual appraisal in the following six areas:

·         CPD

·         Quality improvement activity

·         Significant events analysis

·         Feedback from colleagues

·         Feedback from patients

·         Review of complaints and compliments.

The RCGP will be responsible for recommending the exact standards that GPs will have to meet in each of these six areas to be recommended for revalidation -; and so retain their licence to practise. The college has advised that every GP should already be collecting evidence of all their education, including hours spent, so that they are up to speed and well-placed when revalidation kicks in.  

GPs undergoing revalidation will be required to gain a minimum of 50 CPD credits a year or 250 CPD credits over each five-year revalidation cycle. In line with this, PCTs that have already incorporated the CPD credits system into their strengthened appraisal processes are generally asking GPs to collect evidence of at least 50 credits per year. In practice, most GPs expect to collect evidence of far more than 50 CPD credits per year to present at their annual appraisal. The first GPs to undergo revalidation will not be expected to submit a full five-year portfolio of evidence, with the number of CPD points increasing as time goes on.  

There is no formal accreditation or approval system for CPD credits. Under the RCGP's guidelines, the onus is on the GP to self-assess their CPD credits. A GP's annual claim of 50 or more credits will then be verified by their appraiser at each annual appraisal. The appraiser will normally expect to see supporting information that sets out what the GP learned from each piece of CPD activity and how it's relevant to day-to-day practice. The RCGP has suggested that GPs should look to gain their 50 credits through a mix of learning formats and topics. The college is suggesting and annual maximum of 20 credits for educational meetings/conferences; 10 credits for personal unstructured reading; 10 for targeted reading; and 10 each for unstructured and structured online reading.

For any given piece of CPD, a GP will be able to double the basic hours spent by showing the learning had a specific impact on patients, their own personal development or the health service. For example, the learning may have resulted in a change in your practice protocols for a certain disease, you may have recorded a case study where the learning changed your management, you may have been prompted to conduct a clinical audit, or your practice might have became a training practice as a result of your CPD. The RCGP advises GPs to record any time involved in CPD as basic hours-based credits and then to reflect back on that learning occasionally over the following couple of years to make a judgment on whether to claim double bonus credits for impact. Where a GP feels impact credits are warranted, he or she can record the supporting evidence alongside the basic credits claim.  

There are many ways in which Pulse Learning can help you to collect and record your CPD credits for appraisal and in preparation for revalidation:

      Every learning module that you complete will automatically earn you CPD credits that will be stored in your personal CPD log.

      Our comprehensive range of more than 360 modules covering clinical, practice business and commissioning topics means you will always be able to find a module to suit your needs and fill your knowledge gap.

      Your CPD log will store evidence of your CPD credits tally, all your learning points, your module certificates and your double impact credit claims (together with any supporting evidence that you upload).

      You can record any learning needs / PDP goals that you have set for yourself or agreed with your appraiser in your CPD log and link individual learning modules to particular goals.

      You can include links in your CPD log to learning material that you've read on other sites and want to keep a record of.

      Our Learning Needs Assessment test can help you to direct your learning to clinical areas where your knowledge is weaker.

      You can export all the information in your CPD log into a spreadsheet that you can save for your records or email to your appraiser. You can limit this information to only include learning activity between two specified dates e.g. since your last appraisal.

For more information on Pulse Learning, go to our FAQs page.  

Pulse seminars are specifically focused on the sort of practical, needs-based learning that the new CPD credits system is weighted towards. At the end of each seminar, the chair will help you generate ideas on how you can implement what you have learnt to gain extra CPD credits. After each Pulse seminar, you will receive a certificate confirming your attendance and the number of CPD credits received. You will also receive a form to record your own learning points and their relevance to your work. These documents can then be directly inserted into your appraisal folder to support the number of CPD credits you have claimed.  

  The GMC website has a comprehensive section on the latest developments towards revalidation. The RCGP website has information on how the new CPD credits system works and how it fits in with annual appraisal