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New model of CPD comes into force for UK dentists

The UK’s dental professional regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC), launched its new model of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) today. Enhanced CPD (ECPD) is the first step of a long-term plan of reform, moving to a system focussed on quality rather than quantity.

The changes, which apply to dentists as of 1 January 2018 and come into force for other members of the dental team in August 2018, include the introduction of a personal development plan (PDP) for each member of the dental team. This is a tool for professionals to support their CPD and aid further development, whilst also recording the details of CPD activity with corresponding learning outcomes.

There are also changes to the number of verifiable hours that must be completed over a five-year cycle and a new requirement to make an annual declaration of hours completed. Across the cycle, dentists are required to complete 100 hours, with 75 required for hygienists, dental therapists, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists and 50 required for dental nurses and dental technicians. There is also no longer a need to submit evidence of general (non-verifiable) CPD.

Matthew Hill, Executive Director, Strategy, at the GDC, said: “When speaking to dental professionals, the desire for CPD to be much more than the ‘tick-box’ exercise it had become was clear. This is the first step towards achieving that goal. Under this scheme, individuals will have a more personal responsibility in setting and achieving their development goals. I believe that dental professionals will embrace this change and I look forward to working with them to develop a system of CPD based on quality rather than quantity, which will bring benefits to them as well as patients.”

A series of support materials are available on the GDC website: gdc-uk.org/ecpd They include:

  • ECPD Guidance for Professionals – this publication outlines the new ECPD requirements and aims to answer any questions dental professionals may have about ECPD.
  • ECPD Guidance for CPD Providers – this publication outlines the new requirements and any changes required by providers to ensure the standards for CPD are met.
  • PDP template – a blank PDP template is available for dental professionals to use, if they wish.
  • PDP examples – there are seven PDP examples available, featuring different members of the dental team, to help ensure all dental professionals understand what content is required for their PDP.
  • Activity log template – a blank activity log template is available for dental professionals to use, if they wish.
  • Activity log examples – there are three activity log examples available, which aim to ensure professionals understand what is required when recording their CPD. Please note the examples do not demonstrate a full activity log, but give examples of how professionals may record their activity and reflection.

There is also an ECPD transition tool available online, which is designed to help dental professionals who are mid-CPD cycle to understand the requirements; video blogs discussing ECPD, and infographics.

CPD for dental professionals is defined in law as “learning, training or other developmental activities which can reasonably be expected to maintain and develop a person’s practice as a dentist or dental care professional, and is relevant to the person’s field of practice”. CPD cannot be a one-size-fits-all – to be effective it must be tailored to the individual’s needs. The ECPD scheme is designed to be flexible, so activity can be planned to suit the individual’s professional needs across their five-year cycle. For more information visit gdc-uk.org/ecpd.

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