About The Program 2019

Important changes to CPD requirements due to COVID-19 pandemic

The College and relevant Boards and Councils understand that practitioners may have difficulty meeting CPD requirements this year as a result of withdrawn/denied leave requests, conference cancellations and the re-prioritisation necessary to meet workforce needs. They recognise the importance of the professions being able to focus on the most urgent matters at hand.

Therefore, continuing professional development requirements have been relaxed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see below regarding requirements for your jurisdiction.

The RCPA encourages all Fellows to continue to undertake CPD, including personal study and online collaborative learning, that is relevant to scope of practice as far as possible.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Medical Board of Australia will not take action if you cannot meet the CPD registration standard when you renew your medical registration in 2021. This relates to the CPD activities that you undertake during 2020.

See details of the MBA response to the COVID-19 pandemic

See details of the DBA response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Medical practitioners

The MCNZ will exempt all vocationally-registered doctors from recertification programme requirements until 28 February 2021. Council staff will not be auditing doctors for compliance with recertification programmes over the coming 11 months, but Council will expect doctors to be enrolled and actively participating in their required programmes from 1 March 2021.

As we move closer to 28 February 2021, Council staff will work with the Colleges on a strategy to resume recertification programmes and associated audit activity.

See details of the MCNZ response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Dental practitioners

The Dental Council of New Zealand Council has decided to suspend the current recertification programme that ends on 31 December 2020. This means practitioners are not required to complete CPD and contact peer activities for the time being.

See details of the DCNZ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia requires all 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). The College no longer accepts CPDP certificates or ‘sign offs’ from other Colleges’ CPD programs as satisfying RCPA requirements. For many Joint Fellows, compliance with RCPA CPDP will only require re-documenting activities that they currently already record for other Colleges. Others will need to consider their scope of practice in laboratory medicine when planning and recording their CPDP and peer review activities for the year (see IQA Framework information below). Participation in the RCPA CPDP is also mandatory for Faculty Fellows.

Audit of CPD by the Medical Board of Australia

The Medical Board of Australia may audit the CPD records of specialists as set out on the MBA website: https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Registration/Audit.aspx. There is a downloadable coversheet indicating that the documentation required is as required by the College, with a list that clearly identifies the categories and activities you are claiming. If you are maintaining your documentation in accordance with RCPA requirements, no additional detail should be required. If you have been audited by the RCPA, you are not required to submit to the MBA any documentation for categories in which you have already been audited, other than a statement from the College of successful audit. If you have been satisfactorily audited by the MBA, then the RCPA will not require you to undergo any additional audit for that year.

Compliance with the RCPA’s CPDP provides evidence of continuing medical education and maintenance of professional standards in the practice of pathology. The Australian Medical Council mandates that

‘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’.

This is in addition to the requirement for Fellows to confirm their CPDP compliance and their “recency” of practice as part of your annual medical registration renewal. If you have both clinical and laboratory clinical practices, then you should comply separately for these two areas fulfilling the relevant College requirements.

As you may be aware 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.

Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand and are not registered to practise 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 CPDP 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 CPDP 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.

The College CPDP is hours based, broken down into 3 categories with minimum annual requirements for each of these:

  • Group Activities & Meetings – minimum 20 hours
  • Personal Study – minimum 20 hours
  • Quality Activities - minimum 20 hours which must include 10 hours of peer review activities as guided by the IQA Framework for your discipline

The CPDP manual lists the activities which may be included in each category.

The College encourages all fellows to use the web-based CPDP tool to submit logbook entries or an annual return.

  • CPDP Annual return: one submission that includes all required hours for the appropriate calendar year.
  • Logbook CPDP Entries: submission of individual entries, likely to be submitted throughout the year. Each activity has an appropriate code, and a description must be included.

Below you will find an CPDP Recording Spreadsheet you can use to maintain your records offline and the Annual Activity Summary if you wish to make a paper-based submission (please email these to cpdp@rcpa.edu.au).

Guidance on suitable peer review activities can be found under Section 1 of the Frameworks for Internal Quality Assurance that the College has developed for all disciplines. From the calendar year 2017 all Fellows are required to undertake 10 hours of peer review activities in addition to the current 10 hours required under Category C. For guidance, please see the link below.

Learning plans

Development of a learning plan may be included as a Category B (Personal Study) item. Guidelines and a sample template have been provided to assist with this activity. Peer review of a learning plan may be included as a Category C (Quality Activity) item.

Educational activities provided by external organisations

Please click here to view criteria for selecting formal educational activities offered by external organisations to satisfy Category A or B items of the CPDP.

Submit one-off Annual CPDP

CPD Annual Return

Progressively enter CPDP using the Logbook

Logbook CPDP Entry

To edit an activity, view all activities with documents or finalise or delete an activity in your logbook click the button below:

All activities

Other useful links:

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