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

The Role of CPD

Structured learning

CPD is about structured learning, beyond the years of formal training. It applies to consultants, associate specialists, speciality doctors, staff grades, and other non-training grades. Done effectively, it can improve patient outcomes by positively influencing the behaviour of psychiatrists.

The recommendation that psychiatrists formally record at least 50 hours per annum arises from the understanding within the medical fraternity that this is the minimum requirement to keep up with good medical practice. The previous policy had been in force since 2001, but so that CPD is modernized in line with the expectations of our members, patients and the GMC, a new policy has been agreed by Council and will be in force during 2011.


The policy takes into account what psychiatrists do in their routine work, as clinicians, medical managers, teachers, and academics. It also incorporates the use of the internet as a valuable resource for modern day learning through e-lectures, e-modules, podcasts and e-reading.

The College recognises the work of the peer group as being important in maintaining quality assurance for CPD, and therefore the new policy gives credits for engaging in peer groups.To some extent, CPD is based on members of the College scheme making accurate reflections on their activities, and telling us what works for them and what doesn’t. The College’s CPD weblink has been updated to make that interaction easier.



Good Psychiatric Practice. Continuing Professional Development (2010). Council Report CR157, The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Mezirow, J (1994). Understanding transformation theory. Adult Education Quarterly, 44 (4).

Good Psychiatric Practice (2009), Council Report CR154, The Royal College of Psychiatrists.


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