Health Ministers green-light CPD changes

30 Jul 2021

Changes to continuing professional development (CPD) that will increase the value of doctors’ life-long learning will start in January 2023.

The changes are included in an updated Medical Board of Australia Continuing professional development (CPD) registration standard, just approved by Australia’s Health Ministers.

Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin, said the changes would assure that doctors are engaging in learning that is relevant, effective and evidence-based.

Practising registered medical practitioners already do regular CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice.

The three core changes to CPD are the introduction of CPD homes and professional development plans (PDPs) for all doctors, and requiring doctors to do different types of CPD to improve the value of their professional development.

“The goal is to make sure that the time doctors spend on CPD is useful and helps keep them practising at their best throughout their working lives,” Dr Tonkin said.

Existing CPD providers (specialist medical colleges) have been moving their CPD programs towards these changes over recent years, because they reflect contemporary best practice and make CPD more valuable to doctors and their patients.

Under the changes, doctors will do 50 hours of CPD each year, made up of:

  • 25 hours active CPD - reviewing performance and measuring outcomes (doctors decide the best mix for these activities to suit their practice, with five hours minimum of each type)
  • 12.5 hours traditional learning or educational activities – reading, lectures, conferences
  • 12.5 hours – doctors choose across the three types of CPD.

Introducing accredited CPD homes for all doctors will improve consistency in learning, structure, standards and educational value for doctors with all types of registration.

CPD homes will provide a framework to foster safe practice and support doctors by coordinating programs, ensuring quality activities and keeping track of hours. Any new CPD homes will be accredited by the Australian Medical Council.

All doctors will need to make a professional development plan each year that targets their professional development to their learning goals and strengthens their practice. The Board is not specifying what a PDP looks like or what should be in it.

“The value of a plan lies in the thinking each doctor puts into their professional development and learning needs,” Dr Tonkin said.

“Developing a plan will help doctors think about their strengths and weaknesses, and map out learning that will help them keep their professional edge,” she said.

Changes to CPD are an important part of the Medical Board of Australia’s Professional Performance Framework.

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Page reviewed 30/07/2021