Requirements

The program requirement is for 60 hours per annum, including 15 hours in each of the following categories:

A. Group activities and meetings

B. Personal study, teaching and research

C. Reviewing Performance

D. Quality and outcome measures

  • Each category of the CPDP includes a range of activities from which participants must select at least two, in addition to any mandatory elements, that are relevant to their scope of practice.
  • Lists of activities are not exhaustive, or prescriptive, and Logbook users may record unlisted activities using the ‘Other activities’ option, providing their own description. Note that if using this option, at least one other code should be selected to fulfil the requirement for more than one activity in each category.
  • The mix of activities should reflect normal practice in the applicable discipline. This will be checked at audit. If practice profile is ‘non-standard’ this can be specified and will be taken into account.
  • Some activities could fit in more than one category. Participant may use discretion in choosing, but may not enter any single activity in more than one category.
  • Activities reported in CPD programs for other colleges may be included, provided they have general relevance to registered scope in relation to RCPA qualification.
  • Participants working part-time are required to complete the full number of hours for the program.
  • Submissions must be finalised no later than 31 March for activities undertaken in the previous calendar year so that certification may be provided to the relevant registration authority for each corresponding year.
  • Exemptions are normally only granted for prolonged absence, up to 12 months, on the basis of illness, parental leave, bereavement or other compassionate grounds.
  • Australian and New Zealand pathologists who are not engaged in pathology practice (eg, haematologists or anatomical pathologists who are involved in clinical, academic or managerial work rather than lab-based pathology) may elect to become a ‘non-practising’ Fellow. This status removes the obligation to submit CPD but Fellowship remains otherwise unaffected. You can find further information on the Tips and FAQ page.
  • We encourage all Fellows to complete a Professional Development Plan (PDP), but it is compulsory for all medical Fellows registered in Australia, and all medical and dental Fellows registered in New Zealand, effective from 2020. View more detailed information on PDPs, including several examples and suggested templates.
  • Fellows having difficulty meeting the requirements of the RCPA CPDP may contact the RCPA CPD Administrator for assistance by email cpdp@rcpa.edu.au or by phone (+61 2 8356 5858) at any time.

Note that while substantiating documentation is not required for CPDP submission, Fellows must keep adequate records for potential inclusion in the annual random audit of 5% of the Fellowship.

Minimum substantiation for all items:
  • Date
  • Brief description of the nature and title or topic of the activity
  • Time spent participating

Additional substantiation

Although not compulsory, normally one form of additional substantiation for each activity is recommended in case of audit. Examples could include:

  • Program outline or objectives
  • Web reference (URL) for online activity
  • Attendance sheet
  • Certificate of attendance or completion of assessment
  • Abstract of presentation, poster or article
  • List of articles and books read
  • List of cases or topics reviewed
  • Schedule of meetings, lectures etc
  • Confirmation of arrangements for site visit
  • Email or calendar invitation
  • Diary entry
  • Registration receipt
  • Report summaries
  • Non-confidential brief notes about methods, results of audit or evaluation, your role in a team, planned actions etc
  • Statement from committee chair or head of department
  • Documentary evidence of recording of CPD activities such as Reviewing Performance and Quality, and of completion of Professional Development Plans (PDPs) and Structured Annual Conversations. Templates are available on the Tips and FAQ page
  • Committee terms of reference
  • Mentoring agreement

Substantiation should NOT include:
  • Any confidential or sensitive material
  • Patient or client identification
  • Meeting minutes or agendas
  • Copies of complete publications (provide an abstract or brief description only)
  • Detailed reports (provide a brief summary only)


Records should be kept for at least 3 years.

The RCPA CPDP is designed to meet the registration requirements of the Medical and Dental Boards of Australia, and the strengthened CPDP requirements of the Medical Board’s Professional Performance Framework. Please see the following links for details:

Medical Board of Australia registration standard: Continuing Professional Development

Dental Board of Australia Continuing Professional Development Registration Standard

Medical Board of Australia: Building a Professional Performance Framework

For medical practitioners in Australia, recording CPD compliance is part of your annual medical registration renewal. If you are in both clinical and laboratory practice, then you should comply separately for these two areas, fulfilling the relevant College requirements. You must also meet the Medical Board’s Recency of Practice Standard.

The RCPA will randomly audit 5% of Fellows’ submissions each year, requiring documentation as determined by the substantiation requirements set out in the RCPA CPDP Information Manual. If the outcome of the audit is unsatisfactory, the Fellow will be audited in subsequent years to ensure compliance.

The Medical Board of Australia may also audit the CPD records of specialists as set out on the MBA website. If you are maintaining your documentation in accordance with RCPA requirements, no additional detail should be required by the MBA. 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.

The RCPA is obliged to report non-participation and failure to meet recency of practice standards to the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency unless the member is exempt. This may impact on registration status. Please contact the RCPA if you require advice or assistance in meeting the standards.

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

The RCPA CPDP is designed to meet the registration requirements of the Medical and Dental Councils of New Zealand, and the MCNZ proposed strengthening of recertification requirements. Please see the following links for details:

Medical Council of New Zealand: Recertification for doctors with a general and vocational scope

Strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors in New Zealand

Dental Council, New Zealand, Continuing Professional Development

MCNZ may audit the CPD records of specialists, however if you are maintaining your documentation in accordance with RCPA requirements, no additional detail should be required by them. If you have been audited by the RCPA, you are not required to submit to MCNZ 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 MCNZ, then the RCPA will not require you to undergo any additional audit for that year.

New Zealand medical practitioners must have access to a process for undertaking multisource feedback. This may be provided an employer or a third party. A suitable program approved by the RCPA is the Colleague Feedback Evaluation Tool (CFET) offered by CFEP Surveys. For more information and access to the tool, please visit https://www.cfepsurveys.com.au/colleague-survey. This may be included in Category C, code 41 of the RCPA CPDP.

New Zealand medical practitioners must have access to processes for doctors to participate in collegial practice visits (sometimes referred to as Regular Practice Review). For pathologists, this opportunity is available through the IANZ accreditation process. This may be included in Category C, code 44 of the RCPA CPDP.

New Zealand medical practitioners must have an annual conversation with a peer, colleague or employer, to review their goals, achievements, continuing professional development needs, and opportunities. For guidance to ensure the greatest benefit from this process, please see more detailed information on Structured Annual Conversations, including a suggested template to record the conversation. This may be included in Category C, code 42 or 43 of the RCPA CPDP.

The RCPA will randomly audit 5% of all New Zealand Fellows’ submissions each year, requiring documentation as determined by the substantiation requirements set out in the RCPA CPDP Information Manual. If the outcome of the audit is unsatisfactory, the Fellow will be audited in subsequent years to ensure compliance.

The RCPA is required to report non-compliance to the Medical Council of New Zealand unless the member is exempt. This may impact on registration status. Please contact the RCPA if you require advice or assistance in meeting the standards.

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.

Fellows and Faculty Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand and who are not registered for medical or dental practice in Australia and/or New Zealand, may participate in the continuing professional development program of a specialist college or professional organisation in their country of domicile. They will be deemed to be compliant with the RCPA CPDP requirements if the program is approved by the RCPA Board of Education and Assessment. Recognised international programs will not be subject to audit by the RCPA.

The RCPA will only support applications for registration in Australia or New Zealand if the applicant can demonstrate at least twelve months of compliance with RCPA CPDP requirements.

Fellows or Faculty Fellows who live in countries other than Australia and New Zealand, and who are registered for medical or dental practice in Australia and or New Zealand, must participate in the RCPA CPDP program or apply to the Board of Education and Assessment for possible special dispensation.

The College does not accept CPDP certificates or ‘sign offs’ from other Colleges’ CPD programs as satisfying RCPA requirements in Australia or New Zealand.

Those who participate in CPD programs offered by other colleges may re-document some activities, provided they are generally relevant to the scope of practice in relation to RCPA membership.

There is an expectation that the activities chosen will reflect the normal scope of practice in the discipline, including some specific technical and laboratory-related skills where relevant. It is also appropriate to include activities related to clinical management, leadership and communication, that may not necessarily be discipline-specific.

Appropriate choice of activities will be checked through the audit process. Those with a ‘non-standard’ practice profile should indicate this, so that the audit can be tailored accordingly.

These categories have been included in the RCPA CPDP to satisfy the strengthened CPD requirements of medical and dental registration authorities in Australia and New Zealand.

 

For further information, please see Categories C and D in the Category descriptions and Examples section.

For examples of suggested IQA document templates, focused mainly on Reviewing Performance and Quality, which Fellows may find useful for their purposes, please see the Templates and Examples on the Tips and FAQ page.

Professional Development Plan (PDP)

All RCPA Fellows registered with the MBA, MCNZ and DCNZ must complete an annual PDP. A declaration that this has been done will be required when submitting an annual return. It is not compulsory to upload the document, but it must be produced if audited. A PDP can help you to identify:

  • What you need to learn/achieve and why
  • How and when you intend to learn/achieve it
  • How you will know when you have learned/achieved it
  • How you can apply and build upon what you have learned

For guidance on how to prepare a PDP, please consult the Guideline: PDP and annual conversation.

PDP - Templates and Examples

Tip: The template for recording an Annual Conversation is suitable for recording the review of your PDP progress with a colleague.

Structured Annual Conversation

A structured conversation, at least annually, with a peer, colleague or employer about a practitioner’s clinical practice is a compulsory component of recertification programs in New Zealand. It is recommended for all other practitioners. The intent is to provide time for the practitioner to reflect on their development needs, goals for learning, and professional activities and plans for the next year. RCPA members are encouraged to use the information they have obtained undertaking activities across all categories of the RCPA CPDP to inform this conversation, and may find the outcomes of conversations useful in the preparation of their next PDP.

Suggested template for recording Annual Conversation or reviewing Professional Development Plan

 

INFORMATION

If you have any queries regarding the RCPA CPDP, please consult the Tips and FAQ page or contact cpdp@rcpa.edu.au.

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29-Oct-2020
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