CPD for Pharmacists & Pharmacy Technicians in Great Britain
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General FAQs

• What is CPD?
• How does CPD relate to competence?
• I do not work in a patient care role, so does CPD apply to me?
• I work in a patient care role but not all of what I need to learn
    is purely clinical, so do I include these aspects?
• What if I am overseas?
• How does CPD relate to clinical governance?

What is CPD?
CPD is the process by which pharmacists and pharmacy technicians keep up-to-date through learning. It includes everything you learn that enables you to do a better job. We all learn from experience at work as well as from formal education activities. CPD includes both learning from work and learning from continuing education. A detailed description of the Society’s CPD framework can be found in the CPD Plan and Record.

If you have not yet been sent a pack containing Plan and Record, you can download it from this website. Click here to download it now.

How does CPD relate to competence?
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, like other health professionals, need to keep up-to-date with changes in their field(s) of practice if they are to remain competent. CPD will be one component of revalidation, a process that pharmacists wishing to renew their practising rights will need complete.

CPD is based on conventional, evidence-based educational and developmental practices. In particular, a CPD record can demonstrate how learning from mistakes, appraisal, peer review, critical incidents, audit and other key activities feed into the learning process to improve services and/or products. It can also demonstrate how pharmacists and pharmacy technicians use what they have learnt to improve their practice. CPD is about continuous improvement and making such a commitment transparent. CPD helps you to demonstrate to the NHS, employers and the public that you are doing this.

I do not work in a patient care role, so does CPD apply to me?
Yes. CPD relates to you as an individual and the work you undertake in a professional capacity, whether you work in industry, academia, administration/management or any other role.

I work in a patient care role but not all of what I need to learn is purely clinical, so do I include these aspects?
Yes. CPD relates to all the work you undertake in a professional capacity, so may include non-clinical aspects of your job. Your CPD record should reflect the role you undertake as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. For example, a manager's record might reflect managing, coaching, or training skills being developed.

What if I am overseas?
The same principles apply to all those who are on the practising register regardless of whether they are working overseas or in Great Britain.

If you are a non-practising pharmacist or pharmacy technician you are not required to maintain a CPD record. If you so wish, you may keep a record of your CPD on the Society's online CPD recording facility. If you decide to join the practising register, you will be required by the Society to maintain a CPD record which reflects relevant activities relating to your intended roles and responsibilities. Once you are registered as a practising pharmacist with RPSGB you will be required to comply with the CPD Standards regardless of whether you are overseas or not.

How does CPD relate to clinical governance?
Clinical governance is about both continuous quality improvement and being accountable for quality improvement. As such, CPD is an integral part of clinical governance and it affects all health professionals working in the NHS.

The Department of Health’s publication 'A First Class Service: Quality in the NHS' outlines some important principles for CPD. 'A First Class Service' relates to England, but the same principles and approaches apply in the other home countries.

The document describes a model of CPD, as illustrated below:

There are marked similarities between this model and the Society’s. In relation to CPD, A First Class Service says:

“Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes need to meet both the learning needs of individual health professionals to inspire public confidence in their skills, but importantly they also need to meet the wider service development needs of the NHS.“

The Department of Health also emphasises the importance of relating individual learning or development needs to those of the NHS by adding:

“CPD programmes are best managed locally to meet both local service needs and those of individual professionals.“

“We support the identification of professional and service needs … developed by individual health professionals in discussion and agreement with colleagues locally. The Society’s CPD model is consistent with this: pharmacists should drive the process of identifying learning needs, involving other health professionals locally through processes such as critical incident analysis, peer review and performance appraisal. Particular emphasis is placed by the Department of Health on “supporting audit of practice and relating it to learning needs“.

A First Class Service makes it clear that CPD is not just about courses:

“A Personal Development Plan should take account of different learning preferences (such as peer group or individual learning), clearly identify where team or multi-professional learning offers the best solution, and take full advantage of opportunities for learning on-the-job. CPD does not necessarily mean going on courses.“