New requirements for continuing professional development​

Changes to continuing professional development – “Enhanced CPD or ECPD” – have been agreed by the General Dental Council (GDC) and will come into force in 2018.

These changes herald the introduction of a personal development plan for each member of the dental team.

This is a tool that can identify areas for further development and encourage lifelong learning, whilst also recording the details of CPD activity with corresponding learning outcomes. This is the first time a personal development plan has been required by the GDC. There are also changes to the number of hours that dental professionals must complete during a cycle. The changes will happen in January 2018 for dentists and in August 2018 for dental care professionals.

These changes are the first step in longer-term reform of CPD to move to a system based on quality of CPD activity rather than quantity.

Commenting on the changes, Ian Brack, Chief Executive of the General Dental Council, said: “The public has a right to expect that dental professionals will keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

“The GDC listened to range of views in developing ECPD, particularly those who took part in last summer’s pilot scheme, and worked with the profession, partners and other groups to really get under the skin so that the new scheme contributes to patient care and protection but is also a useful tool for Registrants. The introduction of a personal development plan helps to meet our aspirations of supporting lifelong learning and development.

“Having a better system for continuing professional development – with a much clearer emphasis on planning development, reflecting on learning and embedding that learning into current practice – ties in with the prevention of patient harm element which was one of the principles set out in Shifting the balance.”

During a five-year period, dentists will need to complete 100 hours of verifiable CPD, with 75 hours for hygienists, dental therapists, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists and 50 hours for dental nurses and dental technicians. There is no longer a need to submit evidence of general (non-verifiable) CPD.

Other changes include dental professionals making an annual declaration of the amount of activity they have completed.

All dentists will move onto the scheme in January 2018. There will be arrangements for those who are mid-cycle in the current scheme to determine how much activity will be based on that scheme and how much on ECPD, with guidance issued in the autumn.