Planning for a smooth CPD transition

Proper planning is essential in any endeavour. ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ entered the Irish mindset during the infamous Saipan incident and can be aptly applied to continuing professional development.

As I wrote last month, 15 hours of verifiable CPD and 35 hours of general CPD will have to be completed annually during each five-year cycle. As for subject matter, it is not yet clear whether we will be asked to include recommended core subjects as in the UK, which are:
1. Medical emergencies – 10 hours per five-year cycle
2. Disinfection and decontamination – five hours per five-year cycle.
3. Radiography and radiation protection – five hours per five-year cycle.

These are suggested minimum verifiable amounts. For those working in a clinical practice environment, UK dentists are also advised to include CPD that covers legal and ethical issues, as well as handling complaints.

The 15 hours of verifiable CPD can easily be acquired by attending the IDA annual conference. There is also the option of going abroad to any of the many conferences in the UK or the USA and linking these to a family holiday. Local branch evening meetings also can contribute.

I have written in the past about how wise it is to consider adding another treatment modality to our practices. Cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, periodontics, implantology and endodontics are all areas where further education can not only contribute to our CPD requirements but also add value to our practice and rejuvenate ourselves and our clinical skills.

Most especially in these tightened economic times, there is sense in looking to see if you can acquire some new skills to reduce the number of referrals you need to make.

The general CPD needs be planned carefully, as it involves putting aside about three hours each month. For example, forming a small study group of four to six friends who meet monthly, where two members could give a presentation on a given topic, could be a fun way of complying. Online dental communities, such as Dentaltown or Roots, can allow us to download presentations in various formats to view at our leisure. In addition, it is possible to purchase DVDs of presentations at such events as the Greater New York Dental Meeting or those of the Chicago Dental Society. Reading relevant journals and books can be used to complete the requirement for general CPD hours.

Recording the undertaking of our CPD requirements is almost as important as completing the hours themselves. A recording log can be downloaded from that fulfils the necessary areas of:
• Date
• Subject title
• Venue (where applicable)
• Name of the organisation running the activity
• Verifiable or general
• Number of hours.

This log should be kept somewhere safe, in a folder along with any certificates proving your verifiable CPD hours. There will be random checks at the end of each five-year cycle, so don’t imagine you can manage without a log.

The GDC website at contains further useful information on CPD that is worth checking out. Click onto ‘Current Registrants’ on the home page and follow the ‘CPD’ links to find out more.

Even though the requirements don’t begin until next January, now is a good time to plan; use the coming year as a practice run so that come 2010 you will be raring to go.    

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