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CPD FAQs: special circumstances

Information on special circumstances that might affect a doctor’s ability to participate in CPD

See also the full RCOG CPD guidance for doctors in special circumstances.

Doctors excluded from work

I’m excluded from my practice by my trust. What CPD evidence do I need to provide?

Full participation in the CPD programme is required during a period of exclusion from work. However the type of activity required may be altered depending on the terms of your exclusion (for example external meetings rather than local meetings). You can also use credits in excess of 50 accrued in the knowledge-based assessment activity as a ‘wild card’, i.e. they can count towards the minimum requirements of the local, national/international and personal/professional categories as you consider appropriate.

It is recommended that a personal learning plan is developed to document the alteration in activities to be undertaken. This plan should be reviewed when you are allowed to return to work and will help direct the learning activities that are required following the period of absence.

You should also read the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC)'s Return to Practice Guidance (PDF).

CPD during illness (planned and unplanned)

I’ve been ill for three months. How can I comply with the requirements of the CPD programme?

For sickness absences shorter than three months CPD requirements remain unchanged. While it may not be possible (and it is not required) to undertake CPD during the period of absence, it is expected that any shortfall should be able to be made up over the remaining appraisal year. If a shortfall remains at the time of appraisal, the appraiser can determine whether there is still enough evidence to confirm that you remain up to date and fit to practise.

Where sickness absence prevents normal CPD activity this should be recorded in the Health section of your GMC appraisal portfolio to allow your Appraiser to acknowledge the reasons for your non-participation in the CPD programme.

I’ve been ill for over a year. How can I comply with the requirements of the CPD programme?

For sickness absences longer than three months it is recommended that you endeavour to maintain some CPD activity if possible but a pause (ie, a period of time during which you do not undertake or record any CPD activity) can be made for the duration of your sickness leave. As part of the plan for your return to work a personal learning plan should be developed that takes into account the length of time you have been absent from the work place and thus the training needs that you may have. This plan should allow a period of time to undertake essential training prior to returning fully to your full duties including mandatory training and any retraining required as a result of your absence.

Where sickness absence prevents normal CPD activity this should be recorded in the Health section of your GMC appraisal portfolio to allow your Appraiser to acknowledge the reasons for your non-participation in the CPD programme.

I have been on parental (maternity or paternity) leave for less than 6 months. Can I have an extension to my CPD cycle?

No. For absences of less than six months, CPD requirements remain unchanged. While it may not be possible (and it is not required) to undertake CPD during the period of absence, it is expected that any shortfall should be able to be made up either prospectively or retrospectively over the appraisal year. If a shortfall remains at the time of appraisal, the Appraiser can determine whether there is still enough evidence to confirm that you remain up to date and fit to practise.

I have been on parental leave for more than 6 months. Can I have an extension to my CPD cycle?

No. For absences longer than six months, it is recommended that you endeavour to maintain some CPD activity during your parental leave but a pause (ie, a period of time during which you do not undertake or record any CPD activity) of up to six months can be made. When CPD is paused, it is important that you develop a personal learning plan in relation to your parental leave with your Appraiser or Clinical Director prior to your absence and this is reviewed prior to return to work. This plan must include a provision to undertake essential training (e.g. mandatory type activity) prior to returning to the workplace or as part of a “back to work” induction plan.

Return to work

I gained my CCT in O&G 2 years ago, but then took a career break and I haven’t worked since then. What would I need to do to return to clinical practice?

For any absence from work more than 3 months, as assessment should be undertaken to determine individual needs for a safe return to practice, and a plan agreed with you, your Appraiser and Clinical Director.

Please read the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC)'s Return to Practice Guidance (PDF).

Retired doctors

I’m semi-retired and am involved in a small amount of clinical practice as an independent practitioner. Can I accrue CPD credits on a pro rata basis?

No. Even if you’re involved in only a small amount of clinical practice, you’ll be required to revalidate and to fully participate in CPD. Semi-retirement is the same as part-time working.

I’m retired from active clinical practice but want to maintain a licence to practise and participate in CPD, as I’m involved in medico-legal work. I see patients but only to give a medico-legal opinion. Do I need to fulfil the requirements for CPD?

As you will need to revalidate, full participation in CPD is required. However the type of activity may be altered to fit with your new role. Your new scope of practice should be described within your GMC appraisal portfolio and alteration to the type of CPD activity being undertaken acknowledged in relation to this.

For information about revalidation, please visit the General Medical Council (GMC) website.

I’m retired and am now only involved in teaching. Should I participate in CPD?

If you maintain your GMC licence to practise, full participation in CPD is required. However the type of activity may be altered to fit with your new role. The new scope of practice should be described within your GMC appraisal portfolio and alteration to the type of CPD activity being undertaken acknowledged in relation to this.

If you do not want/need to maintain your GMC licence to practise, revalidation is not required, so CPD will be voluntary and the level of participation will be decided by you.

Elsewhere on the site

CPD guide
Read an introduction to our CPD programme, and an overview of what's involved
CPD programme
Find out more detail about the RCOG’s CPD programme