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CPD for your field of practice

Published on: 27 Jan 2020

CPD for your field of practice

The GDC puts a strong focus on your individual field of practice for planning your CPD. This links with the requirement for having a Personal Development Plan (PDP) where you set out the topics that you plan to cover over your five-year CPD cycle, when you plan to do them, and the development outcomes that you think you will get from each activity.           

By emphasising relevance to your field of practice in the GDC guidance it is intended to encourage you to choose CPD from which you will gain knowledge that is valuable to you and your practice, rather than just ticking off the required hours. This brings with it a lesser focus on recommended core subjects. There will remain some recommended subjects, but these will be flexible and might change if new themes or ideas are identified where new CPD approaches could help.

Your field of practice is self-defining. Look at the sort of patients that you are treating, the types of work that you are carrying out, or any plans you might have for practice development. The GDC encourages you to think in more detail what you wish to learn, how you wish to learn it, and what you expect to change as a result of learning it, so that it is of more benefit to you and your patients. You should consider:

  • The regular skills, practice and professional roles you undertake, including clinical work, specialisms, teaching or mentoring roles
  • Any CPD that is recommended by other regulatory bodies or the government (for example medical emergencies, IRMER, infection control, safeguarding)
  • Any CPD that might have been identified as a current important theme (for example in co-ordination with public health campaigns on oral cancer detection, smoking cessation, antimicrobial resistance)
  • The patient population that you treat
  • Your work setting

The previous recommended CPD topics remain but in the background. They are felt to be relevant to your field of practice anyway or are areas that you will need to cover to ensure compliance with other rules governing dental practice. For example, IRMER updates are required as part of the relevant regulations, and safeguarding training is required as part of professional guidance. But by adding some flexibility it is more straightforward for a registrant who does not work clinically to explain why they might not have done updates in infection control. The previous set list of recommended subjects included: 

  • Medical Emergencies: at least 10 hours in every CPD cycle, with at least two hours every year; (Note that this is a requirement under Resuscitation Council guidance)
  • Disinfection and Decontamination: five hours in every CPD cycle
  • Radiography and radiation protection: five hours in every CPD cycle. This is to reflect requirements in the IRMER regulations
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Complaints handling
  • Oral Cancer: Early detection
  • Safeguarding children and young people; and
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults. These are requirements under NHS guidance.

Generally, for most dentists CPD on medical emergencies, disinfection and decontamination and radiography and radiation protection will, in any case, be relevant to your field of practice.

Also, in deciding relevancy to your field of practice, link your planned CPD to the formal development outcomes that you wish to work on. The GDC has stipulated four very broad development outcomes (A, B, C and D):

  1. Effective communication with patients, the dental team, and others across dentistry, including when obtaining consent, dealing with complaints, and raising concerns when patients are at risk;
  2. Effective management of self, and effective management of others or effective work with others in the dental team, in the interests of patients; providing constructive leadership where appropriate;
  3. Maintenance and development of knowledge and skill within your field of practice;
  4. Maintenance of skills, behaviours and attitudes which maintain patient confidence in you and the dental profession and put patients’ interests first.

There are many courses available from a wealth of providers. For information on the BDA’s offering, have a look at the CPD hub for online courses or the BDA website’s events pages for information on conferences, seminars or Branch and Section meeting.