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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

CPD - Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions should be read in conjunction with the College’s revised CPD Guidance (OP98).


Do I need to register with the Colleges CPD programme?

Registering with the CPD programme is one way to demonstrate that you are keeping your knowledge and skills up-to-date. There is no requirement to take part in the College’s scheme in order to be revalidated by the GMC; further information is available in the GMC’s guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation. However, using the College CPD programme and involving your psychiatry peers in the development of your CPD may provide the best evidence possible for appraisers and responsible officers.


Am I eligible to register?

The College’s CPD programme is a benefit for those in the following grades of membership: Member, Fellow, Affiliate and Specialist Associate. The registration form is available here. It needs to be completed and returned to the CPD Submissions team at A registration email and letter will be issued upon receipt of the registration form.


If I am in training, do I need to be in good standing for CPD?

If you are in a training grade and undergoing the ARCP process, then you are not required to prove CPD activity. This would normally be part of your training programme.


How can I obtain a certificate of good standing?

The College will issue a certificate of good standing when the following minimum requirements are met:

You are an active member of a peer group where you can discuss learning requirements, agree PDP plans and meet at least four times a year.

You undertake a minimum of 50 CPD credits annually of which 30 must be in the clinical domain, if you have a clinical component to your job.

You undertake CPD in the three identified domains: Clinical, Professional and Academic.

You need to log onto CPD Submissions in the members area of the College website. You will generate a certificate on an annual basis so you will eligible for your first certificate twelve months after you first register.


What is a peer group?

A peer group is a self-selected group of psychiatrists (of any grade) who come together to discuss their development needs and consider from this how best these can be met. They will support each to develop a relevant PDP, approve individual activities and agree the submission of the PDP. You must be an active member of a peer group in order to remain in good standing.


I do not have a peer group - can I have a certificate of good standing?

It is the cornerstone of the College programme that you are an active member of a functioning peer group. We recommend that peer groups try and make use of phone and video calling if they are unable to attend meetings in person. Please note that peer group members do not have to be members of the College, but they need to be psychiatrists. They can work at different grades, different trusts, or in the independent sector but the key requirement is that they are able to respectfully challenge each other across their practice. An inability to demonstrate that you are an active member of a peer group will mean that we cannot issue a certificate of good standing.

If you are having problems joining a peer group, the Private and Independent Special Interest Group run a forum where you may be able to join other psychiatrists in forming a peer group.


My peer group are not College members - can I still have a certificate of good standing?

Yes, please email the name, GMC number and email addresses of the other members of the peer group, and we will update your account and release your certificate.


Are there any limits to what CPD activities can be claimed for?

Information on CPD activity requirements can be found in the CPD Guidance OP98 (page 7). There are limits to CPD activities that the peer group should work within:

E-learning is limited to 25 CPD credits annually.

The college recommends 200 hours of reading annually, but structured reading linked to a reflective note can be claimed for up to a maximum of 5 CPD credits annually.

The delivery of teaching and training is not eligible for CPD, but any preparation work that results in development for you would be eligible for CPD credits with the approval of your peer group.

Television programmes aimed specifically at a medical audience i.e. broadcasts of lectures etc. could count towards CPD (with peer group approval). However, programmes for general broadcast would not be eligible for CPD.


I can’t select the ‘Submit your annual return’ button to send my submission to the College

This button remains unavailable until you have ticked two boxes on the CPD general overview page; the first is to confirm the members of your peer group, and the second to confirm that they have approved your submission. Once both of these boxes have been checked, then the button to make your submission will be available for you to select.


I have completed my submission, why is my certificate not available?

Your certificate will be withheld if you are undergoing the audit process. The College randomly selects 5 per cent of all submissions for auditing. You must provide evidence of a minimum of 20 hours of your CPD submission. We will also contact members of your peer group to confirm your membership of the group and to confirm that approval was given for your submission. Once we have received your evidence and a satisfactory email response from one of your peer group members then we can release your certificate.


What happens to my CPD whilst I am on sick leave, parental leave or other career break?

If you are away from work for an extended period, you may choose one of the following options:

  • Continue to meet the requirements of the College’s CPD scheme. The use of a rolling cycle can allow the average amount of activity to be maintained over 5 years if a shortfall occurs.
  • Stop the clock on their CPD cycle whilst you are away from work and resume your cycle on their return. In these circumstances, a certificate of good standing will not be issued.

Should I align my CPD cycle with my appraisal cycle?

The College policy is that it is not necessary for your CPD cycle dates and appraisal cycle dates to be aligned. Appraisal dates are often subject to change; by trying to always align these two cycles, there is the potential for gaps in your RCPsych CPD record. An up-to-date list of your CPD activities documented but not yet submitted is available by emailing


I work less than full time hours – are the minimum requirements different for me?

No the requirements are the same for both full time and less than full time doctors.


Can we have CPD points for an event we are organising?

The College does not approve educational activities. It is the role of the peer group to approve individual activities for individual doctors. It is not possible to say that an event is educationally beneficial to large numbers of psychiatrists.


How can I download a PDF of my activity register for my appraisal portfolio?

Please contact the CPD Coordinator by email at who can provide this for you.


I am working overseas and registered with another CPD programme – do you have a reciprocal arrangement with this programme?

We have a reciprocal arrangement with RANZCP (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Please send a copy of your certificate to and if your membership status is current, we can issue an RCPsych certificate. Please contact the CPD co-ordinator for further information.



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