FAQs on CPD requirements during COVID-19

Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic, we have introduced some further measures in relation to CPD and the issuing of certificates of good standing.

Have the Faculty CPD requirements been suspended?

The Faculty Board has agreed to suspend the usual requirements for CPD for a specified period (until end of March 2022). This is in response to the extraordinary pressures many of our members have been and continue to be under in the efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does this mean in practice?

This means that we are temporarily removing the requirement to submit your CPD records by a certain date and in a particular way. We notified members in March 2020 that we would extend the deadline for submitting your CPD activities; the deadline for the 2020-21 submissions will be similarly extended. Additionally, the normal CPD categories we would expect to see activities spread across will not apply until March 2022, so members are not restricted in the way they can claim CPD credits. We would still expect CPD recorded to reflect the actual jobs of members, but current roles may not exactly correspond to existing personal development plans (PDPs).

Can I still submit a CPD return?

Yes – if members wish you can still submit as normal. You can record and submit for the 2020-21 year as per normal.

Is the online CPD diary still available?

The online CPD diary is still available to members to use to record your CPD activities.

Will I get notification of my CPD submission?

Yes, you will get an email at the point of submission indicating the number of credits of CPD you have logged. This can be used for appraisal and revalidation purposes.

Will I still get a certificate of good standing from the Faculty?

We will presume that members are in good standing for CPD and will issue a certificate with modified wording. Although the best way to receive evidence of the CPD you have undertaken is to make a submission via the online CPD diary. This will generate a confirmation email with the number of credits you recorded which can be used, along with the excerpt from the diary showing your reflection, for annual appraisal.

Will I get audited?

The process of auditing CPD submissions will not take place in either 2021 or 2022.

When will this be reviewed?

We will look at the CPD requirements regularly as the COVID-19 situation develops.

How does this affect my revalidation?

CPD is part of the supporting information that members would normally provide for their annual appraisal, and we encourage members to continue to undertake CPD when and where possible. You should contact your designated body to ensure you are following their guidance regarding your appraisal and revalidation.

When will appraisals restart and what will they be like? 

You should contact your designated body as they will be able to tell you when and how appraisals will restart as well as the new format appraisal will take. In recognition of the exceptional stresses that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, the appraisal will focus on professional development and wellbeing. Appraisees will not have to supply large quantities of supporting information (this includes CPD) and pre-appraisal paperwork. The appraisal will provide an opportunity for a confidential discussion and a time for the appraisee to reflect verbally rather than in writing.

How much CPD will be expected at my next appraisal?

It is evident that all appraisees have done significant amounts of CPD in simply learning about and keeping up to date with the changing guidance on COVID-19 and the pandemic response. The GMC has never mandated a specific amount of CPD or number of credits per year. They expect doctors, as professionals, to do enough CPD to keep up to date at what they do. You will be expected to be able to discuss during your appraisal how you have kept up to date, and the most important things you have learned, since your last appraisal – but you will not be expected to provide any documentary supporting information about your CPD if you have not collected any during the pandemic.

This suspension in appraisals has provided an opportunity for members to demonstrate their professionalism in their response to the pandemic. It provides the chance to move away from counting credits and collecting certificates to thinking about what learning has been meaningful and made a difference to patient care.

Verbal reflection will be acceptable supporting information about your CPD. Of course, some appraisees find simple record keeping and reflection on an ongoing basis, in the CPD diary, the best way to learn and helpful to them personally, and will have maintained this throughout the pandemic. If so, this is valid and valuable supporting information for your appraisal. However, your Responsible Officer and appraiser will not be expecting you to have collected evidence of CPD for appraisal during the COVID-19 pandemic. You should spend no time on documentation that is not of value to you at this time.

There will be no requirement or expectation that you ‘catch up’ on CPD after this appraisal merely because you have not demonstrated it by counting credits or collecting certificates. The GMC have confirmed that appraisals conducted using the rebalanced appraisal processes will fulfil all their requirements for appraisal and revalidation.

Now that appraisals are being restarted, will time spent learning about COVID-19 count towards CPD?

Of course! CPD is about lifelong learning and anything that you learn about which allows you to demonstrate your reflective practice, including COVID-19, will count. Verbal reflection will be acceptable supporting information about your CPD. You may find you have a lot that you want to say about the impact of the pandemic and what you have learned and changed as a result.

How can I contact you?

You can continue to contact us at cpd@fph.org.uk.