We will be carrying out essential maintenance on our website from 6:00pm until 7:00pm on Tuesday, 20 April 2021. During this downtime, you will not be able to book courses, exams or events, complete applications to training programmes, or make online payments. We apologise for the inconvenience.

New to Professional Competence?

Professional competence.

What is Professional Competence?

Medical Council change to requirements for 2020-2021

The Medical Council has changed Professional Competence requirements for the 2020-2021 year.  You can read the full announcement from the Medical Council here (PDF)

What has changed?

The Medical Council has stated that for the 2020-2021 Professional Competence year, the following will apply:

  • The annual Clinical/Practice Audit requirement has been removed
  • Doctors will only be required to record 25 CPD credits instead of the usual 50 credits. The other 25 CPD credits will be considered as met arising from increased learning by doctors during COVID-19
  • Of the 25 CPD credits that must be recorded, doctors are permitted to record these credits in any CPD category (External, Internal, Personal Learning, Research or Teaching). CPD requirements for each category will not apply. Please obtain evidence as appropriate for the 25 credits which you are recording

What hasn't changed?

  • Doctors will still be asked to make a declaration about their maintenance of professional competence during the 2021 annual retention process
  • Doctors are still required to retain enrolment on a Professional Competence Scheme. If you haven't renewed your enrolment please click here

The requirements outlined above will be kept under review in light of a protracted pandemic and the Medical Council will keep the COVID-19 section of their website updated with the latest information

Two trainees talking.

What does a Professional Competence Scheme involve?

Over the course of the professional competence year (1 May to 30 April) you will need to:

  • complete one Clinical (Practice) Audit
  • gather and record a minimum of 50 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits across four CPD categories:
    • External (maintenance of knowledge and skills) - minimum 20 credits per year (required)
    • Internal (practice evaluation and development) - minimum 20 credits per year (required)
    • Personal Learning - minimum 5 credits per year (required)
    • Research or Teaching - 2 credits per year (desirable)

The remaining credits can be made up of any combination of these four categories.

You must record your CPD and Clinical (Practice) Audit activities and keep documentary evidence that you have taken part in these activities. Doctors on our Professional Competence Schemes record their activities in the ePortfolio for Professional Competence, which is like an online logbook.

Each year we issue you an Annual Statement of Participation, which lists a summary of the CPD and Clinical (Practice) Audit claims that you entered in your ePortfolio.

The Medical Council may ask you for evidence of participation in a Professional Competence Scheme. It will accept your Annual Statement of Participation as appropriate evidence.

Your Professional Competence Requirements Explained

A Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 1 per year You are required to complete at least one clinical (practice) audit or quality improvement project per year. VisitWhat you need to know about audit
A Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 20 credits per year You can claim CPD credit in this category for attending:
  • regional, national or international scientific meetings relevant to your area of practice
  • educational activities organised by your training body, college or medical society
  • courses, workshops, seminars, diplomas or other courses, including online learning, that are relevant to your area of practice.
VisitCPD Explained

Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 20 credits per year

You can claim CPD credit in this category for attending:

  • case conferences
  • journal clubs
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and similar courses
  • other educational activities that are department-based, hospital-based or practice-based.

Read more about Verification of Internal Events.

If you are in independent practice or do not work in a clinical environment, find out more about CPD for Doctors in Non-Clinical Practice.

VisitCPD Explained


Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: 5 credits per year

You can claim CPD credit in this category for:

  • reading journals
  • studying for a diploma or postgraduate examination
  • online learning where there is no learner interaction or evidence that you have completed the activity.

You don’t need to collect evidence that you have taken part in personal learning activities.

VisitCPD Explained


Minimum requirement for Professional Competence: This is desirable, not mandatory. You should aim to gather at least two credits per year

You can claim credits for:

  • the first-time preparation and delivery of a presentation at an academic meeting (5 credits)
  • acting as an examiner for a postgraduate medical training body
  • setting postgraduate exam questions
  • delivering postgraduate lectures
  • Publications
  • national standards development.

You need evidence of participation for this CPD category.

VisitCPD Explained


You can claim CPD credits for online learning in either the External or Internal category if it:

  • involves learner interaction or self-assessment
  • the learning objectives describe what you may learn or achieve by taking part in the activity
  • the site provides links to appropriate further study that reinforce and clarify the activity topics
  • the site provides evidence that you have completed the activity.

Understanding Professional Competence

This booklet provides practical information on what you need to do each year.

I enrolled recently, what do I do now?

If you have recently enrolled on a Professional Competence scheme, our "Getting Started" page will help you with the basic requirements, including how to log in to your ePortfolio.

Courses and Masterclasses.

How We Can Help You Maintain Professional Competence

We can help you actively maintain professional competence - gather those all-important CPD credits while developing useful new skills, knowledge and expertise that will help you be a better doctor.

Opportunities for Continuing Professional Development at RCPI include:

  • Our popular, long-running Masterclass series, delivered by leading national and international experts who are passionate about sharing the latest research relating to their specialty.
  • A diverse range of one-year diplomas covering areas such as Patient Safety, Syncope and Related Disorders, Cerebrovascular and Stroke Medicine, Core Pathology Management, Immunology, and Leadership and Quality in Healthcare.
  • Practical one-day workshops covering a wide range of clinical and non-clinical skills.
  • Bespoke educational programmes on research, mentoring and leadership to help doctors take on leadership roles within the health service.
  • A fast-growing range of innovative online learning packages.

Professional Competence

Tel: +353 1 863 9700 and press 2

We have a highly experienced Professional Competence support team in our Dublin headquarters.  They are always happy to answer your questions and advise you on how to maintain Professional Competence. Please note, at present the fastest way to contact this department is by logging in to our support desk here

  • If you need help with your ePortfolio, we can arrange a convenient time to work with you to ensure your records are up to date.
  • If you need advice on how to apply for CPD approval for your event call or email with your event title and proposed date and we will talk you through what you need to do.
  • Contact Jennifer Noordman or Deirdre Donegan in our Professional Competence Department for any queries relating to your professional competence scheme or your application for CPD approval.
  • Alternatively, you might like to visit Professional Competence FAQs