The safety and wellbeing of service users and patients has always been the top priority of the HCPC. One of the ways in which we ensure this is through requiring all of our registrants to undergo Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which we regularly audit.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, registrants were facing increasing demands on their work and, as a regulator, we needed to be flexible to enable them to continue to deliver a high standard of care to patients and service users. We took the decision to suspend CPD audits, to enable health and care professionals to focus on their work in an unprecedented time of need. We also did all we could to boost the UK’s health and care services, including the creation of emergency registers for students and returning professionals.
We hope that many of the professionals we regulate will have gained valuable insights from this extraordinary time in our country’s public health. Many of our registrants have taken on new roles, undergone training for the use of PPE, and other COVID-19 specific procedures, and acquired new skills. We want to ensure that this learning is captured and give registrants time to reflect on how this pandemic has allowed them to develop. This is the reason why we are now resuming our CPD audits, beginning with operating department practitioners.
From 1st September 2020 onwards, 2.5% of registrants in each profession will be randomly selected for audit at the start of their renewal window and will have until the end of the window to submit their CPD profile.
While there have been many positive learning experiences from this pandemic, we recognise that there has also been a real human impact, and that many of our registrants have faced challenging circumstances, negative impacts on mental health and increased demands at work. We recently responded to the Workforce Burnout consultation to share our registrants’ experiences and, hopefully, shape government approaches to these situations in the future.
We also recognise that although it may have begun to feel like things are returning to normal, there is a strong possibility that hospital admissions and lockdown measures may increase again, as we head into the winter months.
We have introduced some extra flexibility for this audit: if there is a gap of 3 or more consecutive months during the COVID period, registrants can explain that they were unable to do CPD due to the crisis.
If a registrant feels they need more time to submit their CPD profile they can request an extension. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the reason and how long is needed. Likewise, if you feel you need more support please send details to email@example.com.
The content of your CPD activities will, inevitably, have seen some significant changes during the past few months, so we have compiled a few tips on completing CPD profiles following COVID-19.
Your CPD profile should be a record of the significant experiences and learning opportunities you have used to develop as a professional during the past two years. The profile should include a record of different types of CPD activities relevant to your current or future practice as well as a statement explaining how several CPD activities from the record have contributed to the quality of your practice and benefited service users, with evidence to support it.
- Reflect on your self-directed learning through the pandemic
All health and care professionals will have undertaken a significant amount of self-directed learning throughout the pandemic. These periods of time will certainly have affected your professional development. The sources of this information, your response to it and how it will affect your future work are relevant things to record.
- Reflect on training through the pandemic
Most health and care professionals will have needed to undertake specific training to cope with COVID-19, whether that was in patient care or around using PPE. Reflection on this learning, as well as how it may affect your future work, will be relevant to record.
- Don’t record all work activities
Work activities are only relevant to CPD if there is significance to them - for example something unforeseen in a case that gave you reason to respond differently, learn or reflect. The majority of your day-to-day work activities will utilise your learning, rather than adding to it. There is no need to record these.
- Don’t struggle to fill the COVID gap
If there is a gap of three or more consecutive months due to the COVID-19 period, you can explain the gap is due to COVID-19 and provide details.
- Don’t limit yourself
Some CPD activities are obvious, such as work-based learning, formal courses, talks and presentations or mentoring. However, there are many others besides these. Any occasion on which you had cause to reflect and develop accordingly will count as CPD - whether that is a discussion about a case with colleagues or reading relevant articles in a journal. If you can demonstrate how the activity meets the Standards of CPD, it can be part of your profile.
- Show how your CPD meets the standards clearly
It’s the quality of your CPD, rather than the quantity, which matters when submitting a profile. The number and frequency of your activities will vary depending on your current or future practice, so focusing on demonstrating how your they have benefited your unique practice will help your profile meet the standards of CPD.
Registrants selected for audit will hear from us via email shortly after the selection. Information on completing and submitting your profile will be provided with this communication.