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As part of the preparations for revalidation, the RCGP has advised that all GPs should already be collecting evidence of all their CPD activity and recording the number of CPD credits they earn. This learning can be for activities that improve the GP’s knowledge and skills in any area of work, so credits can be claimed for clinical CPD, finance/practice management learning, development of teaching skills and so on. The CPD credits system is part of the strengthened annual appraisal system that will underpin revalidation. This evidence of CPD credits earned will be an important part of a GP’s revalidation portfolio, on which PCT responsible officers will recommend GPs for revalidation and the licence to continue practising.

By recording the hours spent doing CPD and the impact of that learning time. At its simplest, each recorded hour spent on any CPD activity (including planning and reflection time) will count as a single CPD credit. For, example completing an online CPD module for two hours would be two credits. However, the RCGP specifically states GPs cannot simply claim points without any further reflection on what they have learned and how they will use it in practice. GPs will be expected to keep evidence of the learning points gained and the relevance of the activity to their work to justify their claim of CPD credits.  

According to the GMC, the roll-out of revalidation will begin in late 2012. Under the new streamlined revalidation process unveiled by the GMC in March 2011, evidence of continuing professional development (CPD) will be one of six areas of information that every doctor will be expected to present at their annual appraisal. Growing numbers of PCTs are also asking GPs to produce evidence at each annual appraisal of the number of CPD credits they have collected over the preceding year – and this trend towards more rigorous appraisal is likely to gather pace over the next couple of years, with PCTs that have been slow to strengthen the appraisal process coming under pressure to do so.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley asked the GMC to simplify its revalidation proposals to ensure the cost is proportionate to the benefits. This resulted in the new ‘streamlined’ proposals for revalidation that were published in March 2011. Under this system, GPs will have to produce evidence at each annual appraisal in the following six areas:

  • CPD
  • Quality improvement activity
  • Significant events analysis
  • Feedback from colleagues
  • Feedback from patients
  • Review of complaints and compliments.

The RCGP will be responsible for recommending the exact standards that GPs will have to meet in each of these six areas to be recommended for revalidation -; and so retain their licence to practise. The college has advised that every GP should already be collecting evidence of all their education, including hours spent so that they are up to speed and well-placed when revalidation kicks in.  

GPs undergoing revalidation will be required to gain a minimum of 50 CPD credits a year or 250 CPD credits over each five-year revalidation cycle. In line with this, PCTs that have already incorporated the CPD credits system into their strengthened appraisal processes are generally asking GPs to collect evidence of at least 50 credits per year. In practice, most GPs expect to collect evidence of far more than 50 CPD credits per year to present at their annual appraisal. The first GPs to undergo revalidation will not be expected to submit a full five-year portfolio of evidence, with the number of CPD points increasing as time goes on.  

There is no formal accreditation or approval system for CPD credits. Under the RCGP’s guidelines, the onus is on the GP to self-assess their CPD credits. A GP’s annual claim of 50 or more credits will then be verified by their appraiser at each annual appraisal. The appraiser will normally expect to see supporting information that sets out what the GP learned from each piece of CPD activity and how it’s relevant to day-to-day practice. The RCGP has suggested that GPs should look to gain their 50 credits through a mix of learning formats and topics. The college is suggesting and annual maximum of 20 credits for educational meetings/conferences; 10 credits for personal unstructured reading; 10 for targeted reading; and 10 each for unstructured and structured online reading.

For any given piece of CPD, a GP will be able to double the basic hours spent by showing the learning had a specific impact on patients, their own personal development, or the health service. For example, the learning may have resulted in a change in your practice protocols for a certain disease, you may have recorded a case study where the learning changed your management, you may have been prompted to conduct a clinical audit, or your practice might have become a training practice as a result of your CPD. The RCGP advises GPs to record any time involved in CPD as basic hours-based credits and then to reflect back on that learning occasionally over the following couple of years to make a judgment on whether to claim double bonus credits for impact. Where a GP feels impact credits are warranted, he or she can record the supporting evidence alongside the basic credits claim.  

The GMC website has a comprehensive section on the latest developments towards revalidation. The RCGP website has information on how the new CPD credits system works and how it fits in with annual appraisal

Yes, you will earn CPD credits for every module you complete, and this will be recorded on a certificate that will appear automatically in your PULSE 365 CPD dashboard. Each module has a suggested number of CPD hours. This is an estimate of the maximum time it will take to complete the module, explore the associated references and reflect on your learning as you go. But this suggested number of hours is just intended as a guide – once you have completed the module you will be asked how many CPD credits you wish to claim (based on the principle that one CPD credit = one hour’s learning). This is the number of credits that will appear on your module certificate.

Each Pulse 365 module that you complete is automatically recorded in your CPD dashboard. The CPD dashboard listing includes the date that you completed the module, the number of CPD credits that you have claimed, the learning points you entered after completing the module and a PDF copy of your module certificate.

You can print your certificate at any time by returning to your CPD dashboard and clicking on the PDF icon next to the relevant module.

You don’t need to do anything, all modules that you take on Pulse 365 will automatically be saved in your CPD dashboard -; whether you have completed them or not. You can return to your CPD dashboard at any time to see an overview of your completed modules and any modules in progress, to print your certificates, claim impact credits and upload evidence of impact documents.

Your Pulse 365 CPD dashboard automatically records all your learning activity on the site and allows you to link it to the specific learning objectives you have set for yourself or that you agreed with your appraiser at your last appraisal.

Your Pulse 365 CPD dashboard automatically stores details of all your completed modules – together with date completed, learning points recorded, number of credits claimed and whether you have claimed double impact credits.

Your CPD dashboard also automatically stores:

  • all your certificates for modules that you have completed (in PDF format, so that you can print them or save them to your own computer).
  • any modules that you have started but not completed.
  • any modules that you have added to your log without starting because you want to do them at a later date – these can be found in the Saved content section.
  • the results of any learning needs assessment tests that you have completed.
  • a tally of the total number of hours of CPD activity you have completed on Pulse 365. You can also pick your own start and end dates (eg. the period since your last appraisal) and find out how many hours’ CPD you have completed on the site during that specified period.

You can also use your CPD dashboard to record details of any reading you have done on other websites that you want to include in your CPD record. Simply click on ‘Log CPD points’ in the ‘CPD Points gathered from external activities’ section of your dashboard.

You can claim double impact credits for any piece of learning if you can show that it has had an impact on your patients or your practice. To record your claim of impact credits, click the ‘Claim Impact Credits’ button alongside the relevant module or article listing in your Pulse Learning log. You can upload documents (eg. patient case studies, clinical audit report, prescribing review) to your Pulse Learning log. The ‘My learning needs/PDP goals’ tab of your Pulse Learning log allows you to link learning that you have done to a particular learning objective or PDP goal. If you click on this tab you can input a new learning need -; this might be an objective that you have set yourself to improve your knowledge in a particular area or it could be one of the PDP goals that you agreed with your appraiser at your last appraisal. To assign a particular module that you have completed as being relevant to that learning need, click ‘Assign to existing learning need’ alongside that module in the ‘My CPD activity’ tab.

You can export all the information included in your CPD dashboard into a spreadsheet or PDF, allowing you to easily save this for your records, or email it to your appraiser. To do this, scroll to the bottom of your CPD dashboard where you will see the export buttons.

This is dependent on how many sessions you watch. Each virtual event is labelled on the platform to show how many CPD hours the entire event is worth. You will need to claim the correct number of hours based on how many sessions you watch. Pulse 365 will keep a record of how many CPD hours you accrue from consuming the content available on the platform, to assist you in tracking your development.