CPD for Pharmacists & Pharmacy Technicians in Great Britain
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Recording CPD

What has changed with recording my CPD?


New CPD Standards and Guidance for Good Practice have come into effect as of 1 March 2009 under the Code of Ethics. These and are designed to meet the Society's obligations under the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Order 2007.

For more information on the changes regarding CPD please see the RPSGB's Professional Standards and Guidance for Continuing Professional Development document at:

How can starting at all four points in the CPD cycle help me?


Allowing you to start your record of entry at any point in the learning cycle provides you with greater flexibility in recording your CPD. This recognises that peoples experience in learning and professional development occurs at different points in the learning cycle and in turn should make it easier for you to make entries of relevant CPD within your CPD record.

The cycle remains consistent in that all learning entries that you make, no matter at what point you enter the cycle, must end with evaluation. Consequently your CPD entries will cover the stages of the CPD cycle as follows:

  • For learning that starts at Reflection: Reflection » Planning » Action » Evaluation
  • For learning that starts at Planning: Planning » Action » Evaluation
  • For learning that starts at Action: Action » Evaluation
  • For learning that starts at Evaluation: Evaluation

When do I start an entry at Reflection?


You should start at an entry at Reflection when you identify a gap in your knowledge, skills, and attributes. This can be achieved through self assessment using the Plan & Record Good Practice criteria, your own experience (critical incident analysis), your personal development planning process, your appraisal, peer reviews, informal discussions etc. Once you have identified an area for improvement, either alone, with your colleagues or with your employer as part of your CPD cycle, the learning that follows will constitute a CPD entry which starts at Reflection.

The Good Practice Guidance states that you should reflect on your practice at least once per month.

When do I start an entry at Planning?


Whilst determining an objective as a result of reflection is often the precursor for developing a learning plan, there will be instances where you will have no specific learning objective in mind. For example, you might decide to read the news section of the PJ every week. You are not looking for a specific piece of information or to develop specific new knowledge or skills, you are just looking stay up to date with what is going on in the profession. In most instances starting at planning will have a very broad scope where you are looking to improve your understanding across a range of issues or areas.

Having made this decision it is then possible to follow the rest of the cycle through, planning your learning, determining and monitoring your actions and evaluating the result.

When do I start an entry at Action?


If you haven't thought about a gap in your learning and planned what you are going to learn, but have learnt something which will contribute to the quality or development of your practice, then you should start the entry at Action and go on to evaluate the impact of your new learning. This type of unplanned learning is opportunist or unscheduled learning.

When do I start an entry at Evaluation?


As the CPD programme is designed to capture the continuous lifelong learning that constitutes professional life, it is recognised there are occasions that you will apply new knowledge, skills or attitudes that you have learnt incidentally. On these occasions, you may not recall what prompted you to learn the particular ability or knowledge. Or the ability or knowledge may have been gained with the intent of applying it in another area of your life. However you were able to recall and apply it in a relevant professional situation.

As you are at the end point of the learning cycle it is only necessary to record the evaluation of your learning.

How many entries should start at Reflection, Action, Planning and Evaluation?


The good practice guidance states that "You should make some entries that start at reflection". You are encouraged to make entries that start at the other three points in the CPD cycle as well.

How much CPD do I need to record?


The CPD standards state that you must make a minimum of nine CPD entries per year. The guidance also states that "you are likely to learn more than you need to meet the Society's CPD requirement through working as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician", and that therefore "you should aim to complete more than the minimum number of CPD entries each year and reflect on your practice at least once per month".

Our focus is on quality rather than quantity. Spending more time recording a selection of the CPD you undertake, rather than rushing to record all of it, may provide greater evidence of your ability to direct your own learning.

What if I am on a career break or am not practising for some other reason?


If you choose to remain on the practising register during this time, you may take a break for up to twelve months from undertaking CPD and recording it. You will need to account for this break when you submit your CPD record. If the break is for more than one year, you should change your registration to non-practising.

If you choose to remain on the practising register whilst on your break, we would advise you to do what CPD you can, for example, reading journals and keeping in touch with colleagues. This will make things easier for you when you do return to practice.

How long will it take to record my CPD?


Experience from the Society's CPD pilots suggests that it will take about 30 minutes to record one CPD entry (one entry relates to a single learning need). Initially it may take longer, but with experience the time will decrease. In most cases a sentence or two is enough to answer the questions in the recording format, and in several instances all that is required is that you tick a box, make a selection from a menu or give a date.

Can I keep my CPD record on computer?


Yes. The Society offers an online CPD recording facility. This provides the benefit of being able to access your record from any computer with an internet connection. It also enables you to edit your records in a convenient way: no messy scribbles and worrying about whether someone can read your handwriting. Your CPD record is stored on a secured server, so you can be reassured that you can't lose it.

Will I still be able to keep my CPD record on paper?


Yes. Master copies of paper recording sheets are enclosed in the Plan and Record folder and you can continue to record on paper and submit copies (not originals) of your paper record when called for review.

May I use a mixture of recording formats?


Yes and no. When your record is called for review, if you have just switched from recording on paper to recording online, you will be able to submit some of your entries online, and some on paper. However, we do recommend that you record exclusively online as this offers a range of benefits over recording on paper, and you will find it simpler when it comes to submitting your record to us for review.

Do I need to collect evidence?


Good practice guidance states "you should maintain a learning portfolio with records of attendance and key learning points from continuing education and notes of other learning e.g. through work. This will provide a useful resource for reference. (The learning portfolio is a personal record of professional development that can provide evidence for your CPD record)."

We will not ask you to submit supporting documentation, but we will be auditing a small number of records in the future in order to check for fraudulent records.

Given the fact that much of your CPD may be informal, it may be difficult to provide hard evidence for this learning. You should be as specific as possible, but avoid using colleagues' and others' names. You should also be as specific as possible when referencing reading and other activities, but avoid using personal or confidential information. Evidencing formal activities should be more straightforward. You should retain attendance certificates and paperwork from any appraisals or audits that have fed into your CPD in your learning portfolio.

What happens if I lose some or all of my CPD record?


It is your responsibility to keep copies of your CPD record. You must submit your record when we ask you to do so. Depending on the circumstances, losing your CPD record may not be sufficient reason for not submitting a record. Your case may then constitute non-compliance with the Society's CPD requirement and be dealt with under the non-referral process to the Investigating Committee. If this concerns you, we advise you to keep your CPD record online, as this responsibility is then taken care of for you.

I currently use another recording system - can I continue using it?


The RPSGB standards state that you must "keep a record of your CPD that is legible; either electronically online at the Society's website uptodate.org.uk, on another computer or as a hardcopy on paper and in a format published or approved by the Society and carrying the RPSGB CPD approved logo". This approved logo is shown below:

What will happen to my record when the RPSGB demerges into the Professional Leadership Body (PLB) and the new regulatory body, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)?


When the Society demerges to form the new professional body and the GPhC, existing CPD records will need to continue to be available to members so that they can access them for their own development needs and are able to select entries to submit to the regulator upon request. Relevant steps will be taken to ensure that individual records are preserved and remain available after the transitional phase.