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CPD special circumstances guidance

There may be times in your career when full participation in the RCOG CPD programme may be difficult or even undesirable for personal or family reasons.

Maintaining knowledge is one of the requirements for revalidation, and the revalidation cycle continues for all doctors regardless of circumstances. All doctors who hold a licence to practise should remain up to date with the CPD requirements.

If you do not undertake CPD for a defined period of time, this should be documented within the portfolio of evidence provided for revalidation, together with a plan for resuming CPD activity. This will provide the necessary assurance for your Appraiser, and enable your Responsible Officer to make an appropriate recommendation for revalidation.

Working less than full-time (LTFT)

If you work in a part-time post, you need to meet the same CPD requirements as full-time doctors. In addition, local arrangements to facilitate CPD should reflect current NHS guidance on equality and diversity in the workplace.

Absence from work

CPD during illness (planned and unplanned)

For sickness absences shorter than three months, the CPD requirement remains 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, your Appraiser can determine whether there is still enough evidence to confirm that you remain up to date and fit to practise.

For sickness absences longer than three months it is recommended that you endeavour to maintain some CPD activity if possible, but a pause* 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 workplace 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.

CPD during planned parental leave (maternity or paternity)

For absences of less than six months, the CPD requirement remains 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, your Appraiser can determine whether there is still enough evidence to confirm that you remain up to date and fit to practise.

For absences longer than six months it is recommended that you endeavour to maintain some CPD activity during your parental leave, but a pause* of up to six months can be made. When CPD is paused, it is important that you develop a personal learning plan with your Appraiser or Clinical Director, in relation to your parental leave. This plan should be developed prior to your absence, and should be reviewed prior to your return to work. The 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.

CPD during exclusion from work

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). 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.

CPD during a career break with no clinical work

For absences of less than six months, the CPD requirement remains 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, your Appraiser can determine whether there is still enough evidence to confirm that you remain up to date and fit to practise.

For absences longer than six months it is recommended that you endeavour to maintain some CPD activity during your career break, but a pause* of up to six months can be made. When CPD is paused, it is important that you develop a personal learning plan with your Appraiser or Clinical Director, in relation to your planned career break. This plan should be developed prior to your absence, and should be reviewed prior to your return to work. The 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 after absence

For any absence from work of more than three months, an 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.

Working abroad

CPD during a career break to undertake clinical work abroad

Undertaking normal CPD activity during a placement abroad may be difficult due to the lack of local or national meetings.

For absences of less than six months, CPD activity should be maintained as normal with concentration on reflective and e-learning activities.

For absences longer than six months, it is recommended that you endeavour to maintain some CPD activity during your career break, but a pause* of up to six months can be made. When CPD is paused, it is important that you develop a personal learning plan with your Appraiser or Clinical Director, in relation to your career break. This plan should be developed prior to your absence, and should be reviewed prior to your return to work. The 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.

If you work abroad and want to maintain your licence to practise, you do need to revalidate, and so will need to continue to undergo appraisal. Where there is a shortfall in CPD at the time of appraisal, your Appraiser can determine whether there is still enough evidence to confirm that you remain up to date and fit to practise. Alternatively you can relinquish your licence to practise while working abroad, and apply for restoration of your licence to practise in advance of returning to work in the UK.

Retirement

CPD for doctors semi-retired but undertaking clinical activity within the NHS or privately

Semi-retirement is the same as part-time working, and therefore full participation in CPD is required.

CPD for doctors who have retired from clinical practice but undertaking medico-legal work and want to maintain their GMC licence to practise

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. 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.

CPD for doctors retired from clinical practice but involved in educational activities (undergraduate or postgraduate teaching, or research)

If you want to 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.

CPD for doctors who have fully retired and do not undertake clinical or other medically-related work

If you want to maintain your GMC licence to practise, full participation in CPD is required. However, the type of activity may be altered to fit with your retired status, for example attendance at local & national meetings and the use of e-learning to gain credits. 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 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. In this case you can remain on the GMC Specialist Register but without a licence to practise, or can give up your GMC registration.

Non-clinical roles

If you work in a non-clinical role but wish to revalidate and maintain a licence to practise, then 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 appraisal portfolio, and alteration to the type of CPD activity being undertaken acknowledged in relation to this.

If you do not want/need to revalidate and maintain a licence to practise, participation in CPD will be voluntary and thus the level of participation will be decided by you.

Limited / specialist roles

If you work in a limited and/or narrow specialist clinical field, full participation in CPD is required. However, the type of activity may be altered to fit with your specific role. The scope of practice should be described within your appraisal portfolio, and alteration to the type of CPD activity being undertaken acknowledged in relation to this. Consideration should also be given as to whether an alternative CPD programme may be more appropriate to your clinical role.

 

*Pause = a period of time during which you do not undertake or record any CPD activity.

References

Elsewhere on the site

CPD FAQs
Answers to frequently asked questions about the RCOG’s CPD programme
Guide to CPD
General information about CPD at the RCOG, including how to register and how to use the CPD/Revalidation ePortfolio