CPD Explained

About the four CPD categories 


External CPD relates to educational activities that take place outside your workplace where you can interact with and learn from others.

You can claim 1 CPD credit for each hour spent on activities such as the examples listed below:

  • Academic/Scientific meetings
  • Symposiums
  • Exam preparation courses
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Courses/Lectures/Workshops leading to a Diploma/Masters
  • Online courses or tests where the site provides details of the learning outcome, links to further reading and you can download evidence of participation

Evidence of your participation is required. See:  Evidence for External CPD and Example Template for External CPD 


Internal CPD activities take place alongside your colleagues and teams within your workplace on topics related to your practice that help improve the standards of your own practice and that of your team.

You can claim 1 CPD credit for each hour spent on activities such as the examples below:

Example meeting types

  • Journal Clubs
  • Grand Rounds
  • Multi-disciplinary team meetings (MTD)
  • Faculty meetings
  • Editorial meetings
  • Legal briefings
  • Case studies
  • Handover meetings
  • Workgroups
  • Review groups
  • Committees

Example Courses:

  • Training, assessment or re-assessment of practical and other skills carried out at work such as:
    • Accreditation or re-accreditation courses for Life Saving/Resuscitation
    • Anti-microbial stewardship
    • Safe prescribing
    • Hand hygiene
    • Manual handling

Example Online Educational Activities

  • HSELand.ie/HSALearning.ie, e.g.;  online training provided by your employer
  • Online courses with topics that relate to your practice in the workplace

Evidence of your participation is required. See:  Evidence for Internal CPD and  Example Template for Internal CPD

Useful information:

Forum of Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies - Verification of Internal CPD


You only need to record five hours of Personal Learning each year, but one of the most common mistakes we see is doctors forgetting to record it.

Here are some everyday examples of Personal Learning

  • Journal or text book reading (online or printed), e.g. Irish Journal of Medical Science, BMJ, Cochrane Library, NEJM, The Lancet etc. as well as study towards an examination such as MRCPI or a Masters
  • Preparation for committee meetings, workshops or workgroups
  • Informal discussion relating to CPD with a friend or colleague
  • Viewing recorded lectures

No evidence is required for this category


Research and teaching are essential in order to improve patient care.  Sharing your knowledge with others will help you to consolidate your own learning as well as providing a valuable education opportunity for your colleagues and peers

While you are not required to record these activities it is highly desirable to claim your credit in ePortfolio.

Examples of Research or Teaching activities include:

1 credit per hour for:

  • Thesis supervision
  • Preparation to chair an academic meeting
  • Contribution to educational programmes or curricula
  • Teaching or examining postgraduates
  • Teaching or examining undergraduates (requires some written reflection on how this enhanced your own practice)

5 credits for:

  • First-time preparation and delivery of a lecture,  presentation, case study
  • First-time preparation and delivery of a poster 

Research and Publishing

1 credit per hour for:

  • Participation in a research project which has ethical approval
  • Contribution to a published article or paper
  • Contribution to national guidelines
  • Contribution to textbooks
  • Preparation and delivery of an abstract
  • Peer-review of articles/publications

 Evidence of your participation is required. See:  Evidence for Research or Teaching


You must record a total of 25 CPD credits every year. The 25 credits can include any or all of the External, Internal and Personal Learning categories.


Supporting Evidence is required for the External, Internal and Research or Teaching categories

Examples of appropriate types of evidence:

  • Letter, Memo or Attendance certificate for an individual activity, on organising institution headed paper, confirming your attendance
  • List of meetings or schedule of meetings/classes/lectures on organiser/institution headed paper, stamped or signed, including clear confirmation of your attendance
  • Copy of your BLS, ACLS, PALS, ALSO or similar certification/re-certification card
  • Conference identity tag which displays your name, and clearly identifies the educational activity and the date(s) it took place


Not acceptable

  • Documents that contain names of other attendees, your trainee/student names, patient names
  • Minutes of meetings or documents that contain other names or information about your workplace/committee etc.
  • Schedules/agendas - these only signify an intention to attend
  • Travel receipts/tickets - these do not confirm attendance at the actual event

GDPR for doctors

When adding evidence documents to your ePortfolio for Professional Competence, be sure they are in line with General Data Protection Regulations.  You can find out more about this in our General Data Protection Guideline


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. You may round the total CPD up or down – for example if the duration of the activity was 1.5 hours, you can claim 2 CPD credits.  If the duration of the activity was 1.25 hours, you can claim 1 CPD credit.

Financial support for CPD


HSE Clinical Course & Examination Refund Scheme for NCHDs

This HSE scheme is open to all NCHDs. There is an approved list of clinical courses & examinations qualifying for this refund scheme contained in the HSE guidance document. Commencing 8th July 2019 the full cost of an approved examination/course taken on or after this date is eligible to be refunded for the first sitting of the exam. 

HSE Training Supports Scheme for NCHDs

This scheme is open to all NCHDs. Funding is allocated based on Grade and the table below indicates the amount available under the TSS for each registration training year, July – July. Funding is available pro-rata for doctors employed on shorter contract durations.

Grade Amount per Registration Year
Intern €750
SHOs and Registrars €1250
SPRs/GP Registrars/Psychiatry SRs on a training scheme €2000

A list of approved clinical courses, conferences and examinations that can be claimed for under the TSS are listed on the HSE website here

The HSE NCHD Training Supports Scheme (TSS) Guidance Document for Employers & NCHDs cab be found here which contains a detailed explanation of the Scheme.


HSE National Doctors Training and Planning - Consultant CME

This scheme is open to Consultants employed in the public service. It allows Consultants claim a maximum of €3,000 pa towards courses and conference, reference materials and professional fees.

Further information is available in  the following HSE documents:

Continuous Professional Development Support Scheme (CPD-SS):

Continuous Professional Development Support Schemes are funded by National Doctors Training and Planning, via the various training bodies and have been developed with a view to providing NCHDs who are not engaged in specialist training i.e. doctors in non-training posts, with a suite of professional educational activities which will assist you in fulfilling some of the requirements of the Professional Competence Scheme. 

More information about CPDSS:

Committee Meetings:

Credits for activities related to Committee Meetings can be claimed under the Internal category.  However a doctor’s PCS activity must be balanced and mirror his/her clinical practice and activity and reflect his/her scope of practice across all domains of practice. Participation on committees is eligible for Internal CPD credits to a maximum of 5 credits each year. There must be a patient safety element to the remit of the committee.

CPD Opportunities in RCPI

We offer a diverse range of educational opportunities and we are continuing to develop new and innovative lifelong learning and professional development opportunities for healthcare professionals.

Whether you are looking for a practical workshop on how to conduct a clinical audit, guidance on how to mentor doctors in training, technical training on endoscopy, or are considering a more long-term undertaking such as our highly popular Diploma in Leadership and Quality in Healthcare, we think you will find something worthwhile on our website.

How to record your CPD

We're here to help

Professional Competence

Tel: +353 1 863 9739

  We have a highly experienced Professional Competence support team. They are always happy to answer your questions and advise you on how to maintain Professional Competence.  As the team are presently working at home, 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 submit your event title and proposed date and we will talk you through what you need to do.
  • Contact the Professional Competence Team at professionalcompetence@rcpi.ie .  If you would like a callback, please let us know the best time and phone number to call you. .
  • Alternatively, you might like to visit Professional Competence FAQs