How to maintain a good Professional Competence record

Doctor at work
Trainee using computer.

Keeping the record straight

Steps for maintaining a good Professional Competence record

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.

New to Professional Competence?

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.

 

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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.

Read our Guide to Creating a Personal Development Plan

CPD Credit for 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 2 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.

Don't see patients?

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:

Read:  RCPI Information for doctors not involved in frontline patient care

Read:  Forum of Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies guidance on non-clinical practice

Absent from Practice?

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:

  • Doctors who are on certified maternity leave
  • Doctors with a certified illness - absence of three months or greater

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.

Read how to record an absence from practice

Read Medical Council advice for doctors on leave from practice

Retired from Practice?

Read our guide for retired doctors

From the Medical Council:

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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.

Guidance

Example Topics

Example Audits

Absent or Retired from Practice?

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. 

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It is important to remember that there are four CPD categories, and that there are minimum annual requirements for three of them.

Minimum Required CPD credits per category

Desirable CPD credits

Overall CPD requirement

  • 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.

Example CPD activities by Specialty

RCPI Courses and Educational Events

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.

 Verification of Internal CPD

Forum of Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies guidance

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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. 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.

Read our Guide to the 8 Domains of Good Professional Practice

It will also be helpful to read the Medical Council guidance on Professional Conduct and Ethics

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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.

Read our ePortfolio How to guide for Professional Competence

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 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.

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

How to renew your enrolment

  • You can set up a direct debit to pay your annual fee once a year from now on - download a Direct Debit Mandate form
  • You can pay online through your RCPI Digital Hub
  • Pay over the phone with your Visa/Mastercard debit or credit card. Call the RCPI Helpdesk on 01 8639721 and have your  RCPI ID number  and credit card details to hand
  • We can invoice your employer. Call the RCPI Helpdesk on 01 8639721 and have your RCPI ID number to hand

Record your Professional Competence activities here

Contact Us

Jennifer Noordman

Administrator, Professional Competence

Tel: +353 1 863 9739

Contact Jennifer for advice on enrolling on a Professional Competence Scheme or applying for CPD approval of an event

Deirdre Donegan

Senior Administrator, Professional Competence

Tel: +353 1 863 9739

Contact Deirdre for advice on enrolling on a Professional Competence Scheme or applying for CPD approval of an event