Lifelong Learning is the GDC’s mandatory scheme for continuing
professional development (CPD), a requirement for recertification. The
scheme helps dentists to demonstrate that they are up-to-date with the
latest developments in their area. Public scrutiny of the self-regulated
professions is intensifying and dentists need to be able to demonstrate
the high standards to which they are working. As well as offering
greater protection and reassurance for patients, CPD has also led to
increased professional satisfaction for dentists. Complying with the CPD
requirement is an individual responsibility.
CPD is mandatory for
all dentists and dental care professionals to retain their names on the
General Dental Council’s registers and is monitored in discrete
five-yearly cycles. The statutory scheme was phased in over three years:
1 January 2002: dentists registered after 1 January 1990
1 January 2003: dentists registered between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 1989
1 January 2004: dentists registered on or before 31 December 1979
dentists or first-time registrants start their five-year CPD cycle from
1 January following their registration date. For example, dentists
registering in September 2013 began their CPD cycle on 1 January 2014.
2008, the GDC introduced a compulsory CPD scheme for DCPs, along the
lines of the dentists’ CPD scheme, but starting in August rather than
January. DCPs as well as dentists also have to cover certain compulsory
subject areas as part of their verifiable CPD requirement.
A flexible scheme
Learning has been designed to be highly flexible, to accommodate
personal situations as far as possible. Although the GDC recommends that
you undertake 50 hours of CPD per year, of which 15 hours should be
verifiable, the five-year cycle allows flexibility for special
circumstances, for example family needs, ill health or time abroad. If
you think that you will not achieve your target CPD in any given year,
let the GDC know about your situation and how you plan to make up the
hours during the following years.
In theory, VDPs can fulfil all
their CPD requirements through their VT study days, but it is vital that
young dentists get into the habit of undertaking CPD and develop
contacts in their local area, so full participation in CPD from the
start is important for career development.
If you are planning a
career break or a time of working abroad, the BDA recommends remaining
on the Dentists Register and continuing to stay in touch with
developments through CPD; the need to undertake CPD continues, even if
you are not practising. If you leave the Register with the intention of
returning at a later date, you will need to provide proof at
re-registering of the CPD that you have undertaken whilst absent, which
should be in-line with the GDC’s requirements.
The GDC will accept
overseas courses but you must have a certificate or accompanying letter
from the course provider that states the number of verifiable hours.
CPD is defined as activities with concise educational aims and
objectives, clear anticipated outcomes and a means of quality control. A
course with verifiable CPD attached should make you aware of what you
can expect to learn from it and provide you with the opportunity to feed
back to the provider on whether the course fulfilled its aims and you
learnt what you expected to. The provider of a verifiable course should
give you an attendance certificate stating the course title, your name
and the verifiable hours.
Verifiable CPD includes:
courses organised by postgraduate dental deaneries
organised by professional or scientific organisations, which comply
with the above criteria - for example, courses provided by BDA, GDPA,
Royal Colleges, the FGDP (UK) etc
vocational training (VT) or general professional training (GPT) study days
distance learning incorporating a verifiable component,
Recommended core subjects
In 2007, verifiable CPD in the following subjects became a requirement:
Medical emergencies (ten hours per five-year cycle)
Disinfection and decontamination (five hours per five-year cycle)
Radiography and radiation protection (five hours per five year cycle)
The CPR aspect of medical emergencies training should be undertaken annually.
working in a clinical environment should also undertake CPD in legal
and ethical issues and handling complaints, as well as in the early
detection of oral cancer. These can be verifiable or general and do not
have a recommended number of hours attached to them.
a system to ensure that professionals are fit to stay on the register
is being developed over the next few years. The CPD scheme described
above will be changed (see information on the most recent CPD
consultations in 2012 and 2014) and will form a new scheme which is
intended to become the core of a future revalidation system.
The GDC has produced an information leaflet for all registrants which can be seen here.