Providing CPD for dental professionals
These guidelines are designed for anyone who provides post-qualification education and training to dental care professionals (DCPs) and dentists.
We are responding to concerns about CPD quality by calling on providers and the whole dental CPD industry to robustly quality assure their products and services and to develop industry-led standards. Read our latest statement issued as part of our review of CPD.
As an educational provider you can assist all dental professionals in meeting our compulsory requirements by following these guidelines.
We encourage providers to begin planning CPD activities for DCPs as soon as possible, so that they are able to provide CPD for DCP groups (please note that CPD hours can only be counted from when the requirements begin 1 August 2008). We also wish to encourage the provision of team training activities.
What are the CPD requirements for dental professionals?
The Council’s compulsory CPD scheme requires dentists to complete at least 250 hours of CPD over every five year period. A minimum of 75 of these hours must consist of verifiable CPD and the remainder can be made up of general (or non-verifiable) CPD.
DCPs should complete 150 hours of CPD over every five year period. A minimum of 50 of these hours must consist of verifiable CPD and the remainder can be made up of general (or non-verifiable) CPD.
We have advised all dental professionals to spread their CPD evenly over the five years where possible. This means that dentists will be looking to undertake an average of 15 hours of verifiable CPD each year and DCPs 10 hours of verifiable CPD each year.
The Council recommends that all dental professionals should:
a. ensure that the CPD they undertake is relevant to their practice and determine the CPD they need to do through use of personal development plans;
b. undertake CPD in the following core subjects as part of their verifiable CPD minimum requirement:
- medical emergencies (10 hours per CPD cycle);
- disinfection and decontamination (5 hours per CPD cycle);
- radiography and radiation protection (5 hours per CPD cycle)
Dental technicians may substitute materials and equipment for radiography and radiation protection.
We recommend that dental professionals do CPD in medical emergencies every year, and keep up to date in CPD (verifiable or general) in legal and ethical issues, complaints handling and oral cancer early detection.
Educational providers are encouraged to provide CPD in these core areas.
All CPD should have a clear educational basis and should update dental professionals’ knowledge of contemporary standards of practice. However, not all CPD activities need to be directly related to treatment – patients may benefit from a variety of non clinical activities undertaken by their dentist or dental care professional as part of CPD.
Can my course be accredited?
The Council will not accredit courses or activities or the providers of such resources. This is because the Council feels that this would limit the choices available to dental professionals and could stifle innovation in the provision of CPD.
CPD providers should not imply that any courses or activities they offer have been ‘approved’, ‘recommended’ or ‘accredited’ by us; this is untrue and misleading to dental professionals seeking CPD activities to meet our requirements.
How can I provide verifiable CPD?
CPD may only be classed as verifiable if (a) it meets the Council’s educational criteria for verifiable CPD and (b) the dentist is able to provide independent verification of attendance or participation (e.g. a course certificate). There is no such thing as automatic verifiable CPD.
The Council’s educational criteria for verifiable CPD are that the CPD activity must have:
- concise educational aims and objectives
- clear anticipated outcomes
- a quality control mechanism, i.e. the opportunity for the dental professional to give feedback and so improve quality.
To help all dental professionals to identify Verifiable CPD, educational providers should:
- design educational activities based on predetermined aims and objectives to meet the needs and demands of anticipated participants;
- structure educational activities to achieve the anticipated outcomes;
- apply continuous quality improvement processes to their activities;
- include details of the aims and objectives and anticipated educational outcomes in advertisements and programmes of activities.
Dental professionals want to undertake activities which will help them to meet the Council’s requirements and are likely to study promotional information with this in mind.
Providers are also encouraged to research the needs of dentists and dental care professionals to maximise the benefit of CPD activity and to try to ensure comprehensive provision.
Do I need to provide a certificate?
Dental professionals must be able to provide, if asked by the GDC, independent verification of CPD attendance or participation and the number of hours involved. For this reason, organisers of CPD activities should provide evidence of participation, or certificates, on completion of the course or activity.
To count an activity as verifiable CPD, the certificate should include the following information:
- name of dental professional;
- GDC registration number;
- date of course/programme;
- title of course/programme;
- venue (where appropriate);
- hours of CPD undertaken; and
- a statement that the activity meets the GDC’s educational criteria for verifiable CPD.
How do I count hours?
Periods spent on registration or breaks should not be included in the CPD hours for an activity; this would not be within the spirit of the scheme. This also applies to time spent on non-CPD activities at conferences and events; only time spent in lectures or seminars at these events should be included.
The course information and certificate should state the number of hours of actual CPD activity undertaken. For example, an advertisement stating “…a seminar on x comprising two hours of verifiable CPD” or “three hours of general CPD” would help dental professionals to plan their CPD and would also help the Council with the process of verifying evidence submitted by the dental professional
Should I keep a record?
For the potential benefit to their users, and their own purposes, educational providers should keep a record of activities organised.
If you have any further questions please contact us.