The RACGP is prepared for coming CPD changes

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

2/08/2021 4:19:00 PM

The college’s CPD program has been designed to ensure a seamless transition to the new requirements in 2023.

A women using a laptop.
Dr Karen Price said the Medical Board of Australia has acknowledged the RACGP is ‘ahead of the curve’ in its development of a user-friendly, efficient, and self-directed CPD platform.

Approved changes to the Medical Board of Australia’s (MBA) continuing professional development (CPD) registration standard, announced on Friday, are set to come into effect for the 2023–25 triennium.
As of January 2023, GPs will be required to increase their CPD hours to 50 per year, with three core changes:

  • GPs will be required to do different types of CPD
  • Professional development plans (PDPs) will be introduced
  • CPD homes will be launched
MBA Chair Dr Anne Tonkin said the changes, which will bring CPD reporting in line with other medical specialties, will ensure doctors are engaging in learning that is relevant, effective and evidence-based.
‘The goal is to make sure that the time doctors spend on CPD is useful and helps keep them practising at their best throughout their working lives,’ she said.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price told newsGP the news comes as no surprise to the college, which has been in preparation for the changes since 2016, engaging members through an extensive consultation process.
This led to the launch of a new easy-to-use myCPD platform in June 2020, which already includes aspects of the MBA’s Professional Performance Framework, allowing for CPD to be recorded as both hours and points, as well as categorising CPD into clinical skills and knowledge, measuring outcomes and reviewing performance.
‘What we’re hoping is that GPs won’t notice too much difference in their ongoing CPD requirements,’ Dr Price said. ‘It was well known this was happening and the [RACGP] CPD department has been working very hard to make the collection of points much easier.
‘There’s a dedicated team of GPs who are reviewing that and members who are actually feeding back to the CPD department and the IT department to make sure it’s seamless.
‘We’ve also got medical experts in education who are informing the CPD and I’m having a regular update with the medical board to feedback and to continue to advocate for general practice.’
The 50 hours of CPD per year will consist of: 
  • 25 hours of active CPD – reviewing outcomes and measuring performance (GPs can decide the best mix for these activities to suit their practice, with five hours minimum of each type)
  • 12.5 hours traditional learning or educational activities – eg reading, lectures, conferences
  • 12.5 hours – GPs can choose across the three types of CPD.
Dr Price said that while this is an increase in contact hours, it is likely most GPs are already meeting these targets.
‘There’s lots of doctors I know, including myself, who hit our points total and then stop recording,’ she said. ‘So GPs are probably learning a lot more than what is even reflected in the CPD record.’
To help ensure it is quick and easy for GPs to record CPD undertaken in everyday practice, the RACGP has already introduced a quick log feature on its myCPD platform.
However, Dr Price said there will be acknowledgement of individual circumstances, such as maternity leave or serious illness, that may make it challenging for GPs to meet the 50 hour requirement.
‘We’ve made sure that there are exemptions in there and we’re in ongoing discussions to make sure that that doesn’t disadvantage anyone,’ she said.
As part of the new requirements, GPs will also need to develop a PDP each year that targets their professional development to their learning goals and strengthens their practice.
‘Developing a plan will help doctors think about their strengths and weaknesses, and map out learning that will help them keep their professional edge,’ Dr Tonkin said.
The RACGP has already launched a pilot for an automated and time saving PDP and is consulting with GPs to get feedback.
While most colleges will be changing to an annual CPD cycle with the implementation of the new changes, the RACGP’s will remain a triennium, which has been endorsed by the MBA. This follows college advocacy in line with input from members.
Dr Price added that the decision to maintain a triennium is further recognition from the RACGP that CPD is a lifetime of learning, as well as an acknowledgment that GPs lead busy professional and personal lives.
‘We don’t want to make it an annual task that you’ve got to sit down and have a look at that; this is a lifestyle of learning … so having it spread over three years accounts for the fact that it’s an ongoing process,’ she said.
To further assure GPs that they have met regulatory requirements, the RACGP has developed a feature on its myCPD platform where doctors can download an annual report to substantiate their CPD activities. It will be accepted by the MBA for annual compliance, as well as by AHPRA should a GP be audited for medical registration.
Dr Price said this move represents peace of mind for GPs.
While the RACGP has a long history of being the gold standard in CPD and general practice education, she emphasised that the college is far more than a CPD home.
‘There’s going to be a lot of support for members,’ Dr Price said. ‘We have a whole department devoted to medical education – this isn’t going to be a tick-and-flick process.
‘The college provides an enormous offering in terms of policy and advocacy to our members … and we’ve got plenty of expert committees that are committed GPs providing up-to-date evidence synthesis.
‘We’ve got a highly responsible job within the community [and] medical information is changing so quickly. We really need to be able to provide a high-quality education resource for our members and we’re dedicated to doing that … and that we have feedback from our members.’
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Dr Cyril Gabriel Fernandez   3/08/2021 7:00:08 AM

We reed more discussion on this … panel discussion

Dr Timothy Howard Watford   3/08/2021 2:44:56 PM

Retirement beckons !

Dr Jacqueline Louise Wood   3/08/2021 4:09:45 PM

The new requirements sound onerous and completely unnecessary to me. I can’t imaging how I will possibly keep up with > 1 hour CPD training per week ( by the time annual leave is excluded, it will in fact be more than one hour each week). And I thought PLAN had been abolished: this is just a rejigged version of the same thing. Not thrilled about having to commit 25 hours towards “ active CPD” either. Sorry RACGP, the easy part IS actually logging the activity, the hard part is going to be finding the time to spread the learning over all 3 of these domains. Might be the driving force towards an early retirement!

Dr Jacqueline Louise Wood   3/08/2021 4:49:54 PM

And isn’t 50 hours per year the equivalent of 100 points per year? So the requirements are increasing from 130 points per triennium to 300 points?

Dr Mona Mikhail   4/08/2021 11:10:53 AM

Unnecessary changes ,adding more pressure on GP

Dr Natalie Jonker   4/08/2021 5:22:50 PM

Just another way the RACGP is pushing GPs over the edge instead of supporting us.

Dr David Zhi Qiang Yu   4/08/2021 5:56:47 PM

Unnecessary changes ,adding more pressure on GP

Dr Fiona Jane Henneuse-Blunt   9/08/2021 1:57:44 PM

I don't recall being "consulted" extensively about these changes. In fact the PDP Plan activity was scrapped before COVID Distracted us all. This feels to me like changes being brought in by stealth and it will be unecessarily onerous at a time of great stress for most GPs working at the coalface .

Dr Sovan Dey   11/08/2021 12:52:18 PM

Dear Dr Price, Change is to be in line of other specialist?, who uses us as relay point, and follow up/review ( hospital equivalent-RMO) and we do all work up and send them for final decision, and they dnt see any unexpected patient, they already know what they are seeing, only we wonder where to get the answer. Anything walk in to the room we are expected to attend and now waste 50hr/yr which is equivalent to 1 and half week of work. I am not aware of any college has that requirement. They have total 100 points self directed, very easy process with their Domian's to be addressed and recoded. No proper consultation been made and no EVIDENCE that previous system caused adverse health outcome to a patient or a doctor. This will definitely bring adverse outcome to a GP who tries to meet work and Family balance including Medicare rebate is getting worse day by day with price of everything is increasing but not rebate and Tax cut is the same.

Dr Elaine Allison McLaren   11/08/2021 1:22:35 PM

I am 64 and would have worked to 70. My retirement plans will be brought forward. These requirements are onerous and unnecessary.

Dr Stephen Djin Kiat Ghan   11/08/2021 1:57:56 PM

As a group, all of us are highly motivated ,always doing our best We will educate ourself if we feel we need to improve our knowledge But i hate this idea of having to do this for CPD points. ENOUGH is enough I learn more from everyday working but i hate the ideas of having to report all my learning activities My schooling days are finish

Dr Laurence Frederick White   11/08/2021 9:43:51 PM

Appalling , Terrible Only silver lining is at 62 I can now clearly plan my retirement for the end of 2023

Dr Nathan Roy Zweck   14/08/2021 4:05:45 PM

Not worried about the hours, but the MODE of learning required - would gladly do 200hrs of traditional CPD instead of 25hrs of navel gazing "active CPD". As I'm doing these compulsory "PLAN, performance, outcomes" activities I can't help but think of the opportunity cost - the loss of time I could be spending on educational activities which genuinely help improve my practice. Anyone who has done a day's clinical work in their life, or who can still remember this, will know that self-directed learning is a DAILY organic thing based on the ever changing context and epidemiology within one's outbreak of vesicular eruptions in infants, a spate of self-harming teenagers, a change in prescribing legislation, a rare condition - sends me to resources to respond better to these challenges on a nightly, not annual, basis. To annually dream up my learning gaps and how to measure their closure is artificial, unhelpful, and wasteful of my available self directed learning time.

Dr Barry Francis Reid   18/03/2022 12:18:21 PM

I am 65 and just sold my rural practice of 35 years .I was wanting to keep my registration at least for the next 5 years doing rural locus etc on a part time basis. These changes many of which are difficult to achieve whilst not in a regular practice will probably result in me letting my registration lapse and to leave the profession.I have no interest in learning to navigate more expensive PC bureaucratic form filling and certainly no skills in navel gazing ,I think this CPD will clean out a great swathe of my generation who were no strangers to long hours and on call obligations but will balk at this trendiness