What is it about?

CPD is now a part of most professionals ongoing development. This review establishes the characteristics of post qualification training required of UK health professionals by their regulators. It compares these standards across the professions and considering them against best practice evidence and current definitions of continuing professional development (CPD). It also establishes a definitive list of regulated health professions with details on how many people are registered to practice under each title. This offers an alternative way of considering the numbers of people working within the healthcare system in the UK, a notoriously difficult figure to establish.

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Why is it important?

Across the UK health and social care systems need to adapt to the challenges of delivering services for the future. This will mean the creation of a more flexible, multidisciplinary workforce, able to deliver new models of care with an increasing role for non medical professionals. Continuing professional development (CPD) is an existing mandatory system that defines post qualification training for health workers and as such it will play a key role in the evolution of this work force This review describes the features of CPD required of UK health professionals by their regulators and considers if these requirements conform to best practice. It shows that CPD is now mandatory for the approximately 1.5 million individuals registered to work under 32 regulated titles in the United Kingdom. It underlines the strengths of current schemes but also highlights how schemes are not fully incorporating best practice.


As a member of a post graduate school involved in teaching optometrists and dispensing opticians a range of extended role skills I can see first hand how regulatory requirements for CPD directly influence what is taught. My hope is that this work will contribute to the healthcare community's ability to plan post graduate teaching in a coordinated fashion mirroring the moves in health policy towards a more integrated healthcare workforce.

Marek Karas
Cardiff University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Continuing professional development requirements for UK health professionals: a scoping review, BMJ Open, March 2020, BMJ, DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032781.
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