Your Guide to CPD

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an instrumental tool in ensuring good medical practice. It is grounded in the recognition that professional learning and development is an ongoing process that extends beyond initial training or education.

In line with the College’s strategic aim to promote and advance excellence in pathology, we are dedicated to developing and delivering exemplary CPD services to our members.

What is CPD and why is it important?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) comprises educational and professional activities that develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal effectiveness necessary for professional practice.

All doctors are required to provide documentation that they are participating in a CPD scheme in order to keep up to date and fit to practise. Clinical scientists should undertake CPD as part of compliance with standards for laboratory accreditation.

We know that our members are committed to their professional growth and adherence to CPD requirements. It is a key aim of the College to ensure that members are well-informed about how to earn and claim CPD credits effectively, in order to facilitate their professional development. We take pride in our excellent CPD portfolio and support service, and encourage all members to participate in this. 

How many credits do I need?

The CPD year runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year. The General Medical Council recommends that practitioners undertake a minimum of 250 CPD credits (or hours) of activity in any 5-year period. Therefore, we recommend that participants record a minimum of 50 credits per year throughout their career.

The 5-year total is calculated on a rolling cycle. A shortfall in CPD activity at the end of a fixed 5-year cycle would be difficult to make up. Therefore, the use of a rolling cycle allows the average amount of activity to be maintained over a 5-year period in case a shortfall occurs.

What activities are eligible for CPD credits?

There are numerous activities that qualify for CPD credits, which can be divided into 3 categories:

C – Clinical

All educational activities that relate to the development of individual clinical or diagnostic skills or specialist knowledge update. This could include:

  • educational meetings and conferences relevant to the specialty
  • local or regional postgraduate meetings
  • supervised learning (such as visiting a different department to learn a new technique).

A – Academic

All activities that contribute to the understanding of pathology, or the education of yourself and others. You do not need to work in an academic post to claim credits in this category. These may include:

  • formal presentations
  • lecturing
  • teaching on specialty-related courses
  • involvement in professional examinations, such as FRCPath
  • publishing
  • presenting audit and research findings
  • postgraduate degrees and diplomas.

P – Professional

Professional activities are those that advance your ability to practise clinical skills and relate to employees, colleagues and patients. These would include:

  • developing national guidelines and audits
  • clinical review and risk management meetings
  • local protocol meetings and other multidisciplinary meetings
  • audits
  • clinical leadership
  • contribution to confidential enquiries.

This list is not exhaustive, but provides a comprehensive overview of the types of activities eligible for CPD credits. There are no credit limits within these categories, though your activities should reflect your practice profile. Therefore, you should ensure that you undertake a range of CPD activities that reflect the local and national needs of your practice and learning needs.

In our CPD credit tables, each suggested activity is accompanied by its credit value and the supporting information required for claiming these credits. You can find a more detailed version of this in our comprehensive this comprehensive document.

How do I claim CPD credits?

You will need to record each CPD activity in your online portfolio, alongside supporting information. By keeping up to date with your CPD record, you will be able to track your progress throughout the year and plan a diverse and comprehensive range of activities. For guidance on how to use the online portfolio, please click here.

Many activities will require you to retain or upload proof of attendance or evidence. Many others require you to self-accredit. Please see our CPD credit table [hyperlink] for more details.

Our CPD portfolio

The College recommends that all members participate in a suitable CPD programme, and offers a bespoke CPD portfolio service to support members’ local appraisal schemes and the revalidation process for medically qualified doctors.

In supporting our members to maintain excellent standards in their professional practice, we help to ensure high quality patient care. The College’s CPD portfolio provides access to an easy-to-use system for storing and cataloguing the activities and CPD credits that you undertake to improve and enhance your practice. 

Using the online CPD portfolio

Our CPD team is also on hand to support our members. If you have any questions, please get in touch at [email protected]