There is so much information and so many documents involved in maintaining Professional Competence that it can be daunting, especially towards the end of the year when you need to update records in time for your Annual Statement of Participation in Professional Competence.
Maintaining a good record of Professional Competence activities comes down to organising your information. Based on what we've learned from providing support to doctors since 2011, we have developed a set of resources and tips for success grouped into six simple categories.
If you have recently enrolled on a Professional Competence scheme, our "Getting Started" guide will help you with the basic requirements, including how to log in to your ePortfolio.
Although it’s not compulsory to complete a Personal Development Plan, we recommend that you do so. Creating a Personal Development Plan encourages you to define your practice, identify CPD and Clinical (Practice) Audit activities appropriate for you, and set out goals for your personal development. It can also be used to reflect on and monitor your progress.
Having a plan will also help you identify when you need to arrange leave or cover in order to attend an educational activity.
View video: What is a Personal Development Plan?
Read or download: our Guide to Creating a Personal Development Plan
If you complete your Personal Development Plan form by 30 September in any given Professional Competence year, you may claim 5 CPD credits in the Internal Category.
To claim your credit, you simply need to complete a form in the Internal CPD category. You don't need to add an evidence document for claiming this credit.
The Medical Council requirements for Professional Competence apply to all doctors who hold Supervised, General or Specialist Registration, regardless of what type of practice they are engaged in. If you are not directly involved in patient care, or are not in practice at the moment, the following documents will help you create your plan for the year:
It's important to plan in advance if you need to book leave or arrange cover for your absence in order to attend educational activities.
It is crucial to plan in advance if you are planning an extended leave from practice such as study leave or maternity leave.
Absence from practice may have an impact on your ability to meet the legal minimum professional competence requirements and this may then be reflected on your Annual Statement of Participation in Professional Competence. The Medical Council advises that where possible, some level of engagement in maintenance of competence should be maintained.
Examples of reasonable circumstances recognised by the Medical Council that may result in a shortfall in minimum requirements are:
If your absence falls under one of these headings and you record it with your training body, an annotation can be included on your next Annual Statement.
From the Medical Council:
It is important to remember that Clinical (Practice) Audit is not the same as CPD - it is a separate Professional Competence requirement. To meet this requirement, you must complete one audit or quality improvement project about an aspect of your own practice every year. This Medical Council requirement is not limited to doctors working in a hospital setting.
It is recommended that you spend at least 12 hours per year on your audit or quality improvement project. If you find it difficult to identify a topic the material below will help you.
Learn more about Audit: Our online course, Performing Audit is approved for 3 CPD credits. This course was designed with the busy doctor in mind to help them plan, design and conduct a clinical audit. It outlines how to mitigate risks and improve quality of service, which ultimately leads to improved patient care. This course will enable you to decide what can be included for audit and provides practical quality improvement tools to help you undertake your own audit.
Because your Professional Competence requirements are based on your Medical Council registration status, absence or retirement from practice does not exempt you from conducting one audit or quality improvement project each year.
Check the following documents and web pages for advice.
It is important to remember that there are four CPD categories, and that there are minimum annual requirements for three of them.
CPD credit for External, Internal and Personal Learning activities is calculated as 1 learning hour = 1 CPD credit. You should claim credit for the number of hours you spent engaged in the activity.
If you are looking for suitable courses or educational events that meet your professional development needs, we recommend that you visit our Courses and Events page where you will find a wide range of course options designed to support your continuous professional development.
The Medical Council’s eight Domains of Good Professional Practice set out the principles on which good practice is founded.
Together, these principles describe medical professionalism in action. The Medical Council requires you to assign one Domain of Good Professional Practice to each of your Professional Competence claims, and to ensure that you have assigned all eight domains to your claims over a five-year period. We recommend that you aim to assign all eight domains every year.
We encourage you to consider which of your activities in the coming year would match these Domains. You should also know that it is possible to edit your claims for previous years if you feel you have already recorded an activity that will reflect one of these Domains.
It will also be helpful to read the Medical Council guidance on Professional Conduct and Ethics
The Professional Competence year runs between 1 May and 30 April every year.
To facilitate doctors who attend activities in the last few days before 30 April, we always allow a short "grace period" after 30 April to give time for last-minute activities to be recorded before ePortfolio is closed to generate Annual Statements of Participation.
It's all too easy to leave adding information and documents to your ePortfolio to the last minute. To make sure that we have time to help you with any potential problems before the Professional Competence year end, please try to record your CPD and audit claims regularly, and contact us straight away if you need help.
If you have difficulty in assigning categories to your Professional Competence activities or have any questions relating to your Professional Competence Scheme, please contact the RCPI Professional Competence Department, which is open Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 GMT at + 353 1 863 9739 or email@example.com.
If you have forgotten your password and need help logging in to your ePortfolio, please contact the RCPI Helpdesk, which is open Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 GMT on Free phone 1800 303 574 (ROI only) or +353 1 863 9721 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As you know, all doctors on the Specialist, General or Supervised Division of the Medical Council Register are required by law to be enrolled on a Professional Competence Scheme and record sufficient CPD and Clinical (Practice) Audit claims to meet their scheme requirements.
The Medical Council requires all doctors to pay their Professional Competence renewal fee before training their Medical Council Registration. They must enter the name of their Professional Competence Scheme and the date they paid their renewal fee on their Annual Retention form.
If you hold Supervised, General or Specialist registration with the Irish Medical Council, absence from practice does not in itself exempt you from engagement with Professional Competence, so it is important that you renew your enrolment every year.
If you have moved overseas it is important to be aware of the Irish Medical Council advice on this topic.
To change your Professional Competence Scheme status, we need your written instructions. If your Medical Council registration status has changed (e.g. you have changed your Medical Council registration type, retired from the Medical Council Register, entered a training programme or moved abroad), please let us know immediately by emailing email@example.com or by writing to:
Professional Competence Department
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
19 South Frederick Street
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. 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