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

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Introduction to CPD

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a process of self assessment, self-directed, lifelong learning that complements formal undergraduate and postgraduate education and training. It enables psychiatrists to acquire new knowledge and skills as well as to maintain and improve their standards across all areas of their practice. It is essential in order to demonstrate fitness to practice and thus be revalidated.
The College helps psychiatrists in this process in a variety of ways:
  • Providing a CPD Submissions programme that records CPD activity and CPD peer group membership and, when the standard is met, issues a certificate of good standing for CPD. You can access CPD Submissions via the members' dashboard.
  • Providing guidance and setting standards for CPD. The requirements for being in good standing with the College for CPD are set out in the College report Continuing Professional Development - Guidance for Psychiatrists (OP98). You may also want to refer to the CPD user guide.
  • Developing a range of accessible online training modules through CPD Online.
  • A range of journals including BJPsych Advances that specifically aims to support psychiatrists in their clinical development.
  • Providing a range of resources in relation to revalidation and a revalidation helpdesk.

CPD Submissions

The CPD Submissions programme is open to Members, Fellows, Affiliates and Specialist Associates of the College who can use the programme to demonstrate that they are in good standing for CPD by:
  • being an active member of a peer group that meets at least four times a year; and
  • undertaking at least 50 credits of CPD activity (authorised by the peer group) annually.   
When these minimum requirements have been met, the College will issue a CPD certificate of good standing.

CPD guidance documents

The College has approved new guidance Continuing Professional Development - Guidance for Psychiatrists (OP98) which replaces the previous guidance document (College Report 157).
Key developments in the new guidance include:
  • Psychiatrists involved in any clinical practice will need to undertake at least 30 hours of 'Clinical' CPD each year to be in good standing with the College. This is out of a total of at least 50 hours of peer group-approved CPD activity each year.
  • There is no requirement to undertake specific amounts of 'internal' or 'external' CPD but the peer group should support the psychiatrist to access learning in the most appropriate way.
  • During periods of extended leave (sick leave, parental leave or other career breaks), the psychiatrist can either continue to meet the requirements of the College's CPD scheme or 'stop the clock' and resume their CPD on their return to their work. In these circumstances, a certificate of good standing will not be issued.
  • Reading, if accompanied by evidence of appropriate reflection can count for up to 5 of the maximum 25 credits allowed for e-learning.


Frequently asked questions

In conjunction with the College’s revised CPD Guidance (OP98), please view our frequently asked questions for further information.


Getting in touch

You can contact the CPD Submissions team via email:
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Please email if you have any queries.

RCPsych International Congress 2018