Medical Board of Australia - Strengthening Continuing Professional Development

Strengthening Continuing Professional Development

Strengthening continuing professional development (CPD) supports doctors through life-long learning that keeps them at their best.

Changes to CPD are an important part of our Professional Performance Framework.

The changes are included in an updated Continuing professional development (CPD) registration standard, which takes effect on 1 January 2023.

CPD changes at a glance

There are three core changes to CPD:

  1. CPD homes for all – for quality assurance
  2. Professional development plans for all – for CPD with purpose
  3. Different types of CPD – for CPD with value

Practising registered medical practitioners already do regular CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice. The CPD changes will assure that doctors are engaging in learning that is relevant, effective and evidence-based,

Read the revised CPD registration standard.

CPD changes take effect on 1 January 2023

The updated CPD registration standard will take effect on 1 January 2023. We will be working closely with our stakeholders for a smooth transition to the new arrangements.

We will provide more information and guidance to doctors about what is changing and what they need to do to be ready for the changes in January 2023.

CPD homes

The revised CPD registration standard requires all doctors to have a CPD home and participate in its CPD program.

The AMC will accredit all CPD homes so they provide quality assured CPD programs that are robust, monitored and evaluated. Accreditation of CPD homes is key to making sure that the time doctors spend on CPD is useful and helps keep them practising at their best.

CPD homes will support doctors by coordinating programs, ensuring quality activities and keeping track of hours. They provide a framework to support safe practice.

Most doctors already co-ordinate and manage their CPD through a specialist medical college or another organisation. Existing CPD providers 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.

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

Each doctor will retain records of annual CPD activity for audit by their CPD home and the Board.

Professional development plans

All practising doctors will need a professional development plan to give their learning purpose. Professional development plans (PDP) will be tailored to each doctors’ needs and target their professional development to improve practice. The Board is not specifying what a PDP looks like or what should be in it. The value of a PDP lies in the thinking each doctor puts into their professional development and learning needs. Developing a plan will help doctors think about their strengths and weaknesses and map out learning that will help them keep their professional edge.

Types of CPD

Changes to the type of CPD doctors do will improve the value of CPD. Under the changes, doctors in Australia will do 50 hours CPD per year:

  • 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.

Supporting a smooth transition

Under these CPD changes, doctors will choose their own CPD home, which may be their specialist college, or another accredited organisation.

The Board is working with specialist colleges as they refine their CPD programs ahead of the changes and new CPD homes will also undergo AMC accreditation, as college training programs already do.

The governance and accreditation arrangements for new CPD homes are being finalised and we will publish new information as it’s developed.

Principles for CPD homes

A set of principles guide the governance and operation of CPD homes. The principles describe the purposes of CPD homes, governance and management, scope of practice of participants, requirements of the CPD programs, support provided and reporting. These principles will provide a standardised approach to CPD for all medical practitioners, that:

  • is flexible enough to accommodate differences in practitioners’ scope of practice
  • will allow practitioners to tailor their CPD to their learning needs
  • assure the community that their doctors are doing CPD that helps them provide high quality patient care.

High-level requirements for CPD programs for specialists

Specialist medical colleges are central to specialist education and training. They set standards, support individual medical practitioners and shape the culture of medicine.

The Board has developed a framework for developing high-level requirements by specialist medical colleges that will apply to CPD programs for vocational trainees, specialist international medical graduates under assessment and specialists practising in the relevant scopes of practice in each specialty.

High-level requirements ensure consistency among CPD homes in their CPD programs for medical practitioners with certain scopes of practice. They are additional CPD requirements for medical practitioners practising in certain scopes of practice, and are in addition to the minimum requirements set by the Board.

Who do the CPD changes apply to?

The updated CPD registration standard applies to all medical practitioners except:

  • medical students
  • those holding non-practising registration
  • those holding short-term limited registration
    •  (public interest; teaching or research – 4 weeks maximum)
  • those granted an exemption by their CPD home for a continuous absence from practice of at least six months and up to and including 12 months for parental or carer leave, serious illness or other approved circumstances
  • interns and PGY2s
    •  interns in accredited intern training programs and
    •  doctors in postgraduate year 2 positions who are participating in a structured program that leads to a certificate of completion.

Registration type and CPD homes

Doctors can choose different CPD homes depending on their specialty, scope of practice, position and/or registration type.

  • Specialists
    • Your CPD home will be an accredited CPD home of your choice that is relevant to your specialty or scope of practice.
  • Specialist trainees
    • Your CPD home will be the accredited specialist medical college for your training position. You will meet the CPD requirements by participating in an accredited specialist training program.
  • Specialist international medical graduates under assessment
    • Your CPD home will be the accredited specialist medical college undertaking your assessment.
  • All other medical practitioners
    • You can choose an accredited CPD home that is relevant to your scope of practice.
  • Practitioners with more than one specialty or scope of practice
    • are required to meet the CPD registration standard in each of their specialties and/or scopes of practice
    • can complete their CPD with a single CPD home that covers all their specialties/scopes of practice, when this is possible
    • may need to complete more than one program to meet the requirements for all specialties. However, CPD activities may count towards the CPD requirements for more than one specialty or scope of practice. The Board expects CPD homes to recognise CPD activities provided by other accredited homes, to prevent duplication of doctors’ efforts.
Page reviewed 2/08/2021