CPD: progress at the midway point in the cycle

Halfway through our 2022-24 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle, Steve Brooker, Director of Regulatory Strategy, takes stock of progress so far

It’s important for registrants to undertake, record and reflect upon their CPD to make sure that they can demonstrate their commitment to their own professional development for the benefit of the public and patients. In 2022 the GOC introduced a more flexible, less prescriptive system allowing registrants greater freedom to undertake learning and development relevant to their personal scope of practice. The changes signalled a shift in approach that aimed to move away from a box-ticking exercise to instead promote and embed a culture of learning, development and improvement in the professions.

We’ve just passed the mid-way point in the CPD cycle running January 2022 to December 2024 so it’s a good time to take stock on progress so far and reset our focus for the remaining 18 months.

The maths is simple: most registrants must obtain 36 points over the three years, which works out at an average of a point per month. Registrants with prescribing rights must obtain 18 additional specialty points. So, to be on track in meeting the minimum requirements, registrants should have achieved half of their points tally by now. As at the end of June, our records indicate that 4 in 10 registrants on the main register are on course and it’s about 3 in 10 for those on the specialist registers. History tells us that many registrants accumulate most of their points towards the end of the cycle, so we’re not overly concerned by the shortfall at this stage. However, history also tells us that some registrants who choose this path ultimately fail to make their points total, perhaps because they fall ill, or an expected life event happens. Unless the circumstances justify an exemption, we have no choice but to remove them from the register, and they must apply to be restored.

It’s time to accelerate progress on obtaining CPD points.

Our data also tells us that only 4.3 per cent of the total points declared to date are for self-directed CPD. Self-directed CPD was introduced for the first time in this cycle and puts registrants in control of their professional development. Up to half the total points requirement can consist of self-directed CPD and any type of learning that is relevant to your professional development can count. Examples could include reading a journal, working towards an academic or vocational qualification, lecturing, attending webinars from outside the optical sector, or volunteering in wider healthcare. What matters is that you learn useful things from it which you can apply to your professional practice.

Take advantage of self-directed CPD: it’s simple to record your points, and lots of activities can count towards this.

All registrants are required to complete a personal development plan (PDP) and upload this to the GOC’s MyCPD platform. The PDP is designed to give registrants an opportunity to reflect on their scope of practice at the beginning of the CPD cycle, think about the CPD that would be useful to them and plan their activities over the next three years. Unfortunately, there are still many registrants who have yet to upload their PDP, despite this being a mandatory requirement. Although we are now midway through the cycle, it’s not too late to upload your PDP. The GOC has provided registrants with an optional template to use, but you may use an alternative template provided by your employer, contracting organisation or professional body, or your own template.

If you have yet to upload your PDP to the MyCPD platform, please do so without delay.

For more information about the GOC’s requirements, there are lots of helpful materials on the MyCPD platform and please contact cpd@optical.org if there’s a query you would like help with.