The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends that all psychiatrists undertake continuing professional development (CPD) as part of their personal development plan (PDP) and that, for quality assurance, all CPD activity is approved by their peer groups. We conducted a regional survey (Survey I) of consultant psychiatrists attending a regional conference of the College to assess their current CPD practice, and a more detailed national survey (Survey II) into sessional time for CPD and peer group activity of all consultant psychiatrists and staff grade, associate specialist and specialty (SASS) doctors.
The surveys showed some similarities. Survey I (n = 36) showed that 83% of consultants had a current CPD certificate and that consultants experienced significantly more difficulty in achieving their ‘internal’ compared with ‘external’ CPD requirements (39% v. 20%). Survey II (n = 2632) showed that 98% of our sample thought CPD was important for revalidation. Despite this, over 50% had difficulty accessing CPD time regularly in their timetable. In total, 97.4% of consultants and 85.7% of SASS doctors were in peer groups.
A revised CPD policy must give credit to peer group meetings and set out more clearly the distinction between the types of CPD activity psychiatrists undertake. We recommend more robust job planning to enable psychiatrists to fulfil their CPD requirements in the face of competing demands on their clinical time and reducing resource.
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