Reassess your training needs

getting online trainingSophie Gray looks at dental training and explains why your CPD may take a new direction as a result of the pandemic.

We have all recognised that during the COVID-19 pandemic delivery of care must be the priority. As a result, finding the time or capacity to focus on CPD may prove complicated.

However, continual learning can help you maintain your resilience, credibility, confidence, and gain a new perspective. With the changes to many aspects of how you work day to day with other dental professionals and patients, it is vital to stay up to date and ensure you are delivering care in line with the latest guidance and legislation.

Review your Personal Development Plan

At the beginning of your cycle, you will have created a Personal Development Plan (PDP). This will identify maintenance and learning development needs while carefully considering your role and daily practice as a dental professional.

Has your role and daily practice changed since you originally created your PDP? If so, the training you originally identified may no longer be at the forefront of your needs. Work settings, patient population, lead roles or even professional interests could have shifted. So it is important to review your PDP and realign your maintenance and learning development needs to reflect this.

GDC topics

While your PDP will reflect your own development and learning needs in relation to your career trajectory, there are areas outlined by the General Dental Council (GDC) as highly recommended and recommended CPD topics. The GDC recommends staying up to date with these topics. They contribute to improved performance and patient safety. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Highly recommended

  • Medical emergencies: at least 10 hours in each CPD cycle. At least two hours of this type of CPD activity every year
  • Disinfection and decontamination: at least five hours in each CPD cycle
  • Radiography and radiation protection: if you undertake radiography, complete at least five hours in each CPD cycle. If you are a dental technician, you can do CPD in materials and equipment, instead of radiography and radiation protection. Again at least five hours in each CPD cycle.


  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Complaints handling
  • Oral cancer: early detection
  • Safeguarding children and young people
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults.

I recommend keeping these topics in mind when reviewing your PDP. This will ensure you still factor in and highlight any areas you feel you could benefit from additional training or refresher courses.

Contact providers

If you have pre-booked face-to-face training and it still factors within your PDP, I suggest getting in contact with the provider. Many have adapted their approach to delivering training in a safe and socially distanced manner. They may already have a plan before the projected course date.

If this is not the case, or you don’t feel comfortable with the proposed method of training, it is perhaps time to look for another provider who carries similar content.

You may not get an exact match. But look for similar aims, objectives and outcomes that align with your maintenance and learning development needs. Keep it in line with your PDP.

Is your training provider compliant?

If you look to continue with your existing provider who has adapted the delivery of training, or if you decide to enrol with an online training provider, make sure that the content complies with GDC’s Enhanced CPD Guidelines.

Many dental professionals presume that CPD providers are approved or regulated by the GDC. And that therefore they are ‘safe’ to use.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. The GDC asks you to use your professional judgement to decide whether the CPD activity you take part in meets requirements.

It states: ‘We recommend that all dental professionals, as consumers of CPD, make careful choices when investing time and money in CPD products and services and obtain advance assurances where possible as to their quality and value for money.’

It is, therefore, crucial that all registrants carry out their due diligence when selecting a CPD provider. Here are a few pointers to help you with this:

  • Search for an industry-specific provider
  • Do they have a good reputation and how long have they been delivering training?
  • How do they support learners?
  • In what format is training delivered. Does this match your preferred learning style?
  • Who creates the content, is it evidence based and subject to peer review?
  • Is a quality assurance program in place and is the content regularly reviewed?

The registrant’s decision should also now take account of the recent additional requirements from Enhanced CPD. Such as mapped development outcomes and reflective learning.

Evidence of your training

Following completion of CPD, the provider must include documentation for your record of evidence. In the majority of cases, this is a certificate. However, in some circumstances, providers can supply this in an alternative format.

The evidence should include the following information:

  • The subject, learning content, aims and objectives
  • The anticipated GDC development outcomes of the CPD
  • The date(s) that the CPD was completed
  • The total number of hours of CPD undertaken
  • The name of the professional who has participated in the CPD activity
  • The participant’s registration number
  • Confirmation that the CPD is subject to quality assurance, with the name of the person or body providing the quality assurance
  • Confirmation from the provider that the information contained in it is full and accurate.

Has your CPD provider included all the relevant details on your certification or documentation?

I recommend checking this each time you receive your documentation. This forms part of your own evidence and compliance documentation.

How can Isopharm help?

Isopharm provides a professional, interesting and easy way of completing your learning requirements whatever role you play in the dental team.

We offer our training via our e-learning platform, as we understand you have busy professional lives. This means you can access CPD and learning when you have time.

Plan your training with our automated PDP, which includes SWOT analysis that allows you to highlight the courses and tasks best suited to your learning goals.

Complete your CPD with our online training courses, we have linked all of our courses to the GDC development outcomes for you.

Reflect on your learning at the end of each course, we will automatically add this to your training records.

Record your CPD progress automatically as you learn. Our GDC reporting feature allows you to quickly and easily generate your annual and end of cycle reports.

Isopharm can help you with online learning for the whole dental team. Subscribe and save, with instant access to over 200 online verifiable CPD courses for only £36 per year!

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