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Continuing Professional Development

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia requires Fellows of the College in active practice to participate in the RCPA Continuing Professional Development Program (CPDP) if they are domiciled in Australia or New Zealand (see below for other countries). This is in order to provide evidence of their continuing medical education and maintenance of professional standards in the practice of pathology.

You will find below the RCPA Policy relating to CPDP, the current Information Manual, an Excel recording sheet you can use if you prefer to maintain your records offline, and the annual activity summary if you wish to make a paper-based submission. Submissions are made in whole hours and increments of 15 minutes.

The Board of Directors, at its 16 December 2015 meeting, decided that the College could no longer accept CPDP certificates or ‘sign offs’ from other Colleges CPD programs as satisfying RCPA requirements. This change will take effect from the 2016 Calendar year, applying to CPD returns to be submitted by March 2017.

There are a number of reasons for this change.

Firstly, the College is undergoing a major AMC Accreditation review in 2016. Under Section 9.1 of the AMC Standards “Continuing Professional Development” there is a NEW requirement:

9.1.4 The education provider requires participants to select CPD activities relevant to their learning needs, based on their current and intended scope of practice within the specialty(s). The education provider requires specialists to complete a cycle of planning and self-evaluation of learning goals and achievements.

There has also always been a requirement for “recency” of practice as part of your annual medical registration renewal.

In order for the College and for you to comply with these requirements in terms of laboratory medicine, you will need to have both recency of practice and CPD relevant to your scope of laboratory practice. If you have both clinical and laboratory clinical practices, you should comply separately for these two areas of your practice, however the College cannot mandate what other Colleges may require of you.

Secondly, the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) continues to strongly signal that it will be introducing measures (sometimes referred to as “revalidation”) to not only ensure continuing education in your scope of practice, but also competence in the areas in which you practice. The MBA has also recently indicated that it will be enlisting the help of Colleges for guidance in appropriate activities for assuring individual specialist practitioner competence.

The College has pro-actively established frameworks for Internal Quality Assurance for all disciplines. Under the IQA Framework for AP and cytology, 10 additional hours of peer review activities have been mandated by the Board to be documented under CPDP for the Calendar year 2016. This mandatory additional 10 hours of peer review for CPDP will be introduced for all other disciplines in 2017. To align with this initiative, the CPDP and Information Manual will undergo some re-design over the coming months. It will be essential for all Fellows to comply with the new structure and be able to be certified by the College by 2017.

At the February 2016 Board of Directors Meeting further clarification was made re Overseas Fellow RCPA CPDP requirements other than New Zealand.


CPDP and international practitioners


To further clarify the requirements for practitioners outside Australia and New Zealand:

Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand and are not registered to practice medicine in Australia and or New Zealand may participate in their country of domicile Pathology College/Organisation’s CPD Program to be compliant with the RCPA CPD requirements. If however they wish to apply for Medical Registration in Australia or New Zealand, the College will only support this application if they can demonstrate at least 12 months of compliance with RCPA CPD requirements.

Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand and are registered to practice medicine in Australia and or New Zealand must participate in the RCPA CPD program or apply to the BEA for possible special dispensation.

For many Fellows, compliance with RCPA CPDP will only require re-documenting activities that they currently already record for other Colleges. This may be particularly so, for example, for Fellows of The Royal College of Pathologists (UK). Others will need to consider their scope of practice in laboratory medicine when planning and recording their CPDP and IQA activities for the year. We encourage you to visit the College website for both CPDP and IQA Framework for guidance. If you have any queries regarding these changes, please contact Dr Bronwen Ross at



Internal Quality Assurance Framework information.

Did you know you can boost your category B and C hours by engaging in activities from RCPA Education Online? Find out more.