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Have your say on new GDC plans for CPD

Claire Herbert, Head of Revalidation at the General Dental Council, introduces the proposed new ‘plan, do, reflect, record’ method of mandatory CPD

No one ever stops learning and the practice of dentistry continues to evolve with changes in technology, techniques and trends –as well as patient expectations. New GDC proposals for continuing professional development emphasise the quality and impact of ongoing learning and development on your practice as a dental professional, the team in which you work, and ultimately the patients you treat.

It is vitally important that our regulatory requirements help all dental professionals, to help us, give patients and the public the assurance that all those on the GDC’s register continue to be up to date and fit to practise. We already require registrants to participate in CPD, and tell us about what they have done, in order to keep their registration with the GDC. We require any registrant seeking to return to the register after a period away to do CPD, too.

Currently dentist registrants must undertake a minimum of 250 hours of CPD including 75 hours verifiable CPD and DCP registrants must undertake a minimum of 150 hours including 50 hours verifiable, during a five-year cycle.

There is a legal requirement to provide information about what you have done at the end of the cycle and all registrants are encouraged to log CPD hours along the way on eGDC. In fact, we are currently reminding all DCPs who come to the end of their CPD cycle in 2013 that they can tell us now about the CPD they have done so far.

If you fail to comply with our current CPD requirements you may lose your GDC registration. That means you cannot work as a dental professional. You will have to meet our CPD requirements and pay a fee to return to the register if we remove your registration for this reason.

But what about the future?
In July 2011, the GDC launched a thorough review of current CPD requirements.

As part of this we have considered the strengths and weaknesses of the current scheme and considered the approaches of other regulators and wider developments within regulation in the UK.  Importantly, we have sought input and feedback from registrants and others about what they think about our current requirements.

This included a representative survey of GDC registrants that was conducted in late 2011. 

From this we found out a lot about what registrants think. This included that 64 per cent of GDC registrants would do CPD anyway, even if we did not require it. The full results can be found at on the GDC website at About Us - Research and Consultation - CPD Review [(http://www.gdc-uk.org/Aboutus/Researchandconsultations/cpdreview/Pages/CPD-research.aspx]

CPD is not about box-ticking.  We require you to undertake continuing professional development because we believe it makes a contribution to patient safety. It is also part of being a dental professional. We believe that by introducing a new approach to CPD we can support registrants to focus not only on the amount of CPD they undertake, but also on the quality and impact of their ongoing learning and development.

The impact of CPD must always primarily relate to the registrant’s own performance based on their scope of practice and the standards of competence and conduct we expect. It also relates to their contribution to the effectiveness of the team in which they work; patient outcomes and satisfaction and, more widely, the quality and safety of dental care in the UK.

We believe our new proposed CPD scheme would also support registrants to get the most out of their learning and development by fully embedding planning and reflection into the process.

Plan, do, reflect, record
We propose that all registrants must identify their CPD needs using a personal development plan. This would enable them to evaluate their learning and development needs, in accordance with the GDC’s standards and their scope of practice. Registrants would then do the planned activity it in a timely way. Following the CPD activity, the registrant would reflect on its impact by thinking about how it has and will enable them to maintain and develop their skills, knowledge and behaviours. The registrant would then record what they did, briefly documenting the impact and benefits in relation to meeting our professional standards.

We think this scheme will ensure CPD activity continues to be firmly embedded in the life of every dental professional.

We also think this is a scheme fit for dental regulation in the 21st century. It will contribute to providing assurance to patients and the public that all those on our register are effectively keeping up to date, in order to maintain their fitness to practise throughout their professional life.

We are committed to developing approaches that are workable so it is crucial that we hear from registrants, CPD providers, employers, commissioners and others now about what they think about our ideas. 

A new CPD scheme will contribute to the assurance of the continued fitness to practise of all GDC registrants.

Please take part in our CPD consultation by visiting www.gdc-uk.org/haveyoursay The deadline for responses is 31 January 2013.

Even though we are making proposals for the future, our current requirements remain the law and you can view current CPD requirements on the GDC website www.gdc-uk.org

 

Claire Herbert joined the GDC in March 2011. She has experience working at every tier of government – European, national, regional and local.
She holds an undergraduate degree in public policy and a Masters in European governance. Before joining the GDC, Claire spent 12 years working in European affairs, including time working as a parliamentary researcher in the European Parliament in Brussels and in local and regional government. She has also undertaken various work on behalf of the Department of Health, Cabinet Office and the former Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Previously Claire spent five years working at the GMC working primarily in European affairs, but more recently was Head of Policy Development and Implementation as part of the team introducing revalidation for doctors.

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CPD via online sources. The General Dental Council sets criteria for the re-validation of Dental Professionals, principally by the Continuous Professional Development requirements. There are various ways of achieving these requirements. The most convenient is probably completing CPD quizzes, normally in MCQ form, from online source material. In my opinion, the MCQ quizzes are, by current practice, very limited in scope, i.e. they usually cover only a tiny proportion of the material contained in the source material, although this is not universally the case. In writing the CPD requirement for source material, CPD quizzes might cover all the KEY points, rather than just a limited number of questions, of often obscure and sometimes even questionable validity. This is particularly appropriate for Core CPD, where set material and extensive MCQ CPD validation would comprehensively validate the knowledge of practising professionals. It is far too easy to sleep through CPD lectures on particularly CORE subjects, with attendance being sufficient. This change would have the disadvantage of destroying the gravy train of those currently providing Core CPD lectures via the BDA lecture series, but that might be thought to be counterbalanced by the savings in clinical time lost and expense to professionals, which is obviously passed on to patients. I was fortunate enough to once be given the opportunity to write the CPD quiz on a lecture provided by an Australian based international Professional lecture company and found it a challenging and extremely informative process. It should not be beyond the ability of the GDC to establish a CPD monitoring sub- committee. The guidelines might be that to provide the standard 1 hour CPD, the CPD quiz should have a minimum of 10 questions and the aim should be to test all key points. A pass mark should also be set to provide the verifiable certification. Not a foolproof system, but short of actually demanding supervised CPD quiz completion, I can't think of one. An additional advantage of this development, is that it might provide additional language understanding validation. David Peltz January 2013
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