Getting Started

Trainee at College event

New to Professional Competence?

Based on what we've learned from providing support to doctors since 2011, we know that maintaining a good record of Professional Competence activities comes down to organising your information.

Our Getting Started guide will help you with the basic requirements.

If you have recently enrolled on a Professional Competence Scheme, or haven't had an opportunity to bring your record up to date for a while, below are six tips to help you get started.

The six things you need to do:

A 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. If you complete the Personal Development Plan form we have provided for you in your ePortfolio for Professional Competence by 30 September,  you may claim 5 credits in the Internal CPD category. Visit: Why create a personal development plan
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Professional Competence requires that you conduct at least one Audit or Quality Improvement project every year.

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.

Visit: What you need to know about audit

A There are four CPD categories:
  1. Personal Learning
  2. External CPD
  3. Internal CPD
  4. Research or Teaching
For three of these categories you must record a minimum number of CPD credits each year: In the category Research or Teaching it is desirable, but not mandatory, to record 2 CPD credits per year. Evidence of your participation is required. See Evidence for Research or Teaching You must record a total of 50 CPD credits every year. The 50 credits must include the minimum requirements from the External, Internal and Personal Learning categories. VisitCPD Explained
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The Medical Council’s eight Domains of Good Professional Practice set out the principles on which good practice is founded. 

  1. Patient Safety and Quality in Patient Care
  2. Relating to Patients
  3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Collaboration and Teamwork
  5. Management (including self-management)
  6. Scholarship
  7. Professionalism
  8. Clinical (Professional) Skills

Together, these principles describe medical professionalism in action.

Doctors are best placed to choose the activities that reflect their educational needs and will be expected to make a judgement on the value of a particular activity based on their scope of practice. They are expected to map their activities against the relevant Domain of Good Professional Practice and ensure that the activities undertaken during the course of a five year cycle encompasses all eight domains.

We recommend that you aim to assign all eight domains every year. When recording your activities in ePortfolio for Professional Competence, you have the option to assign up to three domains at a time.

VisitAbout the 8 Domains of Good Professional Practice

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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.

Help us help you!

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 professionalcompetence@rcpi.ie.

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 helpdesk@rcpi.ie

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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 renewing 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.

Absent from practice?

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.

Change of Status?

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 professionalcompetence@rcpi.ie or by writing to:

Professional Competence Department
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
Frederick House
19 South Frederick Street
Dublin 2

VisitRenew your enrolment

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

Getting Started with ePortfolio for Professional Competence

  • Log in to rcpi.ie and click on the link entitled New ePortfolio
  • If you are using your own personal device select ‘Trust device’
  • Review your Dashboard and check all details
  • Use the Create button to start recording

Instructional videos for getting off to a good start

You may want to watch the following video tutorials.

You may prefer to download a pdf to read:

Safe Start - Are you new to medical practice in Ireland?

Safe Start was developed by the Medical Council of Ireland to help doctors who are new to Ireland.

It will help you understand the general requirements when practising here and how to deal with common clinical scenarios.

Download the Medical Council "Safe Start" guide (PDF)

Visit the Medical Council "Safe Start" website

There is more information on the Medical Council of Ireland website

The Medical Council of Ireland provides extensive information about Professional Competence.

Visit the Medical Council pages for Professional Competence 

Understanding Professional Competence

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

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