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CPD FAQs: CPD categories and activities

This page provides answers to CPD FAQs about the various CPD categories and activities

Impact of CPD

You can demonstrate that you’ve changed or improved your practice following learning in a number of ways. Strictly speaking, you should be claiming credits only for CPD activities which impacted on your practice.

You could use the reflective learning form built in to your CPD/Revalidation ePortfolio under the personal/professional category (1 credit per completed reflective learning form) and you could reflect on:

  • A local incident that brought about new learning and change of practice (patient care and safety, colleagues, allied health professionals and organisational impact)
  • A guideline that you have read, explaining how you’ve implemented it
  • How you made changes in your practice as a result of significant event audits
  • How you applied a newly developed protocol in practice

You could use the RCOG’s personal reflection template to explain, for example:

  • How your learning from attending a national/international meeting has improved your practice
  • How you developed an audit with evidence of change of practice
  • How you’ve developed and implemented a new service following learning from a leadership programme
  • How there was an improvement in patient survey or 360-degree results following learning activities or practice development (e.g. following completion of a communication course or leadership course)

Please note that if you’re already claiming credits for an activity, for example for attending a meeting or developing an audit, you can’t claim additional credits for reflecting on that activity.

Knowledge-based assessment

Yes. TOG is being enhanced with input from the specialist societies. A wide spectrum of articles will be published, and we anticipate that all generalists and subspecialists will be provided with appropriate material to satisfy the knowledge-based assessment requirements. However, if you’re unable to find TOG articles suitable for your subspecialty, please  or call +44 20 7772 6307 to discuss alternatives.

Find out more about other ways you can claim credits in the KBA category.

Questions are offered for most TOG articles, including articles in the clinical governance category as well as clinical articles. Your scope of work should determine your choice of CPD assessments to complete.


An audit of personal clinical practice is an audit of surgical or other activity related to your clinical practice against national standards (where these are available). This may involved audit of your practice within a departmental audit, and would include audit of complications. Some organisations require personal audit for recertification in a particular area of practice (e.g. colposcopy audit, which is done every 3 years).

For more information:

Analysis of significant clinical events

The analysis should be about significant clinical events which have included clinical input from you. There may have been an adverse clinical outcome or significant complication. It may relate directly to your clinical care or be an analysis of team working, in which you had clinical input. You’ll need to provide similar information and reflections as part of your annual appraisal submission.

If you haven’t personally been involved in any events but a relevant event has occurred in an area of practice in which you work, as a result of which you plan to make a change to your own practice, you may also consider using this. In this case, you must clearly explain how the event relates to your own practice and the context in which it came to your notice (e.g. governance or morbidity and mortality meetings) to claim the CPD credits.

CPD allowance for examining and writing exam questions

The RCOG’s CPD programme includes a generous allowance for examining and writing exam questions. In each 5-year cycle, you can claim a maximum of 25 credits for formal examining and a further 25 credits for writing exam questions. Therefore, taking these two types of activity together, you can accrue a maximum of 50 credits in a 5-year CPD cycle. The College has set a limit of 25 credits per type of activity to ensure a balance is retained in the CPD programme.

You can claim formal teaching (including both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching) in the local category at a rate of 1 credit per hour. You’ll need to provide the title of your teaching sessions, as each session can be claimed only once in the 5-year cycle. You can claim formal examining (including both undergraduate and postgraduate examining) in the national/international category at a rate of 1 credit per hour, to a maximum of 5 credits per exam diet.

Meetings and events

Yes. The RCOG doesn’t accredit meetings and courses for CPD. This places the responsibility for making decisions regarding the educational value of meetings with you. You’re expected to judge for yourself the educational value of a meeting/course. You should only claim for the educationally useful hours you feel you’ve achieved. We recommend that you prepare a reflection on the meeting you’ve attended to demonstrate what you’ve learned and how the learning has improved your practice. To make a successful claim, you need to retain a certificate of attendance, which providers of CPD should supply.

A number of medical royal colleges have systems in place to approve meetings for CPD. We’re also aware of other bodies that are providing ‘CPD approval’ for events. These bodies are not event or activity providers, but consider themselves approvers. We strongly advise that you make sure that any activities ‘approved’ by these organisations are of high quality, suitable for your CPD and acceptable to your appraiser. You should also consider whether learning from these meetings has improved your practice.

Maximum allowance of 25 CPD credits per type of activity

To ensure the CPD programme remains balanced, the College sets a maximum of 25 CPD credits per main type of activity in each 5-year cycle. Participants can claim a maximum of 25 credits in each of the CPD activities listed below under the three main categories:

Local category:

  • Each type of local/regional meeting attended
  • Formal undergraduate or postgraduate teaching
  • Supervised learning
  • Developing or presenting local or regional audit against national standards
  • Developing or undertaking an audit of personal clinical practice

National/international category:

  • Attending national and international meetings
  • Presentations given at national and international meetings
  • Setting exam questions
  • Examining
  • Developing national guidelines
  • Developing national audits
  • Contributing to confidential enquiries
  • Publishing articles and questions in TOG

Personal/professional category:

  • Attending national and international meetings
  • Publications
  • Authoring a grant application
  • Reviewing/editing publications
  • Reflective learning
  • E-learning
  • Other personal learning

The College set this limit to ensure a balance of activity within each category of the CPD programme. Please bear in mind that if you’re unable to reach the minimum requirement in the national/international category, you can use surplus credits accrued in the knowledge-based assessment category as a ‘wild card’ to allow you to reach the minimum requirement in other categories.

Difficulty meeting the RCOG’s CPD credit requirements

The GMC’s CPD guidance states that it’s the doctor’s responsibility to do enough appropriate CPD to remain up to date and fit to practise in their work and to be able to demonstrate this at their appraisals. This applies whether doctors are in full-time or less than full-time practice.

The GMC doesn’t require you to be a member of a college or faculty CPD scheme, to undertake a specific number of hours of CPD each year or to acquire a particular number of CPD credits. However, you may find that participating in such a scheme is helpful, both in keeping up to date and in being able to show that you are practising to the appropriate standards in your specialty.

If you’re unable to meet the requirements of the RCOG’s CPD programme, the summary that you download from your ePortfolio will reflect this. However, while it’s helpful for you to demonstrate that you’ve complied with the College’s CPD requirements, the GMC does not mandate this and your appraiser may be willing to confirm the appropriateness of your CPD activities even if you haven’t met the RCOG’s key CPD requirements.

If you’re unable to meet the requirements of the RCOG’s CPD programme, we recommend that you upload to your ePortfolio a reflection explaining the reasons why you’re unable to do so. We also recommmed that you .

Please . The RCOG will be flexible. You may wish to discuss this issue with your appraiser before your appraisal. If your appraiser identifies a meeting that would best meet your educational needs, the College will consider this request.

Evidence of CPD activities

Unfortunately, the CPD Office no longer accepts paper evidence. The College doesn’t ask you to provide evidence for all of your CPD activities. For example:

  • You no longer need to provide flyers or programmes of local meetings
  • It’s no longer necessary to retain certificates of completion for TOG questions as the title of those you’ve successfully completed will appear in your CPD ePortfolio for you to select and claim
  • For publications, it’s sufficient to provide an internationally recognised reference
  • The College provides electronic certificates for its own meetings and conferences, which can then be uploaded into your ePortfolio

If you’re unable to use a scanner, we recommend that you ask other meeting organisers to email you confirmation of attendance. For examples of the kind of evidence you’ll need to provide, please visit the page outlining the principles of the RCOG’s CPD programme.

Find out more

Scope of work

This includes:

  • Doctors in training posts
  • Doctors in managerial and non-clinical roles
  • Doctors practising part-time, in limited/specialist roles and in general practice
  • Staff and associate specialist (SAS) doctors, trust doctors and similar posts
  • Doctors working in the independent sector
Special circumstances

This includes:

  • Doctors excluded from work
  • Breaks in service, e.g. sick leave or maternity leave
  • Return to work
  • Retired doctors

Elsewhere on the site

CPD guide

Read an introduction to our CPD programme, and an overview of what's involved