There is growing emphasis on the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) for consultant psychiatrists and an increasing recognition of the need for peer support. In this context the Royal College of Psychiatrists has been developing policy around CPD; a policy document has been issued by The College Council (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1994) and there are regular updates on this topic on the website (www.rcpsych.ac.uk). All consultants are to be expected to take part in CPD and currently the annual requirement is for 20 hours of ‘external’ CPD and 30 hours of ‘internal’ CPD. ‘External’ refers to didactic or workshop events that involve input from outside a clinician's locality; ‘internal’ refers to local activities, case conferences, journal clubs, etc. CPD follows a 5-year rolling cycle, supported by the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, a recommended 2 hours per week personal study and the development of personal development plans. From the outset there appear to have been issues in engaging consultants in CPD (Morgan, 1998). The problems of establishing CPD extend beyond consultants ‘finding the time’.
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