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CPD worries? Career plans? Help is on hand to get you where you want to be

By Lin-Nam Wang

Lin-Nam Wang finds out from Catherine Duggan, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s director of professional development and support, and Priya Rasanayagam, CPD support specialist, about the CPD support available now and the plans to continue supporting members’ development needs after the GPhC takes over regulation


Rakhee PopatIn July 2010 the General Pharmaceutical Council published its standards for continuing professional development (PDF 60K), PJ 26 June 2010, p622.

Although there are plans to review them in future, these are the standards that will apply from the day the regulation reins are handed over by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society later in 2010.

Little change so far

“The GPhC CPD standards link in closely with the Society’s standards introduced in March 2009: they require you to make a minimum of nine CPD entries per year which reflect the context and scope of your practice as a pharmacist. You are expected to keep a record of your CPD that complies with the good practice criteria, which includes making some CPD entries that start at reflection.

“Your CPD should reflect all aspects of your work, including management responsibilities and annotations to the Register. The standards require you to demonstrate that your CPD contributed to the quality or development of your practice,” Catherine Duggan, the Society’s director of professional development and support, said.

According to the Pharmacy Order, the GPhC will adopt a framework for CPD underpinned by rules that will define how it will deal with non-compliance. (There will be a 12-week public consultation before these are published by the GPhC.)

However, until the handover, which will include the Uptodate CPD recording system, it is business as usual — the Society’s regulation directorate is continuing to call in and review CPD records, at a rate of 400 every two weeks.

Get help

Pharmacists who are not entirely confident of the quality of their record might like to know that support is available from the Society in a variety of forms. For example, July 2010 saw the launch of CPD webpages on the professional body’s new website. Through these, members can access sector-specific examples of CPD entries, frequently asked questions and tips on how to improve CPD entries.

And after the handover, “we will continue to offer support so that our members can make CPD entries and improve them to meet the five-yearly call of records by the GPhC”, Dr Duggan said.

How to contact RPS Support

Commitment to pharmacyOnline

Members can use an online enquiry form at any time or they can email the support team at

By telephone

The support team can also be called direct on 0845 257 2570  and are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

How to find out about LPFs

Members can find details of LPF networks and events

Career development

According to Dr Duggan, members of the new professional body are to benefit from a range of development support resources. “The Society is firmly committed to supporting pharmacists throughout their careers. While it will continue to assist them with meeting the standards for CPD recording, it will also help them to develop across their chosen sectors and at every level of practice.

“In the future we will expand our service portfolio to help members develop their practice and careers and give them access to accredited learning resources. Our support services will be easily accessible through four interfaces:”

Dedicated team

Currently, pharmacists’ first port of call for professional development advice should be the Society’s support team, which deals with telephone, email and online enquiries, Dr Duggan said.

The team can give advice on how to record CPD and the requirements of the CPD framework, and help with submission of CPD records as well as supporting wider aspects of developing practice beyond the current minimum mandatory standards of the regulator, she added.

“Our teams are actively engaged with projects in science, research, support, practice development, CPD, career pathways, mentoring and return to practice, with partnership working forming a firm base for expert stakeholder input and prolonged success. We aim to provide credible professional recognition for pharmacists.”

Face-to-face contact

The Society is also facilitating LPFs for those for whom face-to-face contact is important, and is using virtual delivery to expand access to support. “The LPFs help to bring together education provision and CPD support so that pharmacists can improve outcomes for their patients,” Dr Duggan explained. CPD peer review workshops and surgeries, and general CPD sessions, are now being offered by LPFs with the help of CPD supporters.

“We have a cohort of trained CPD supporters who deliver CPD services on local and national levels. Last year (2009) we piloted five sector-specific webinars on how to record your CPD with sector-specific experts, some of whom were CPD supporters, taking you through relevant entries.

“Over 1,500 members took part and their responses indicated that the site was easy to use and the presentations met most to all of their needs for CPD recording. Before long we will be offering virtual CPD surgeries and CPD webinars, both centrally and through LPFs, to meet our members’ professional development needs,” Priya Rasanayagam, CPD support specialist at the Society, said.

“The CPD supporters are using the virtual network for discussions and sharing information. Some groups are now using virtual network facilities to signpost CPD workshops and events. We expect the use of virtual networks for discussions to grow as pharmacists are called upon to take on greater responsibilities in their workplace,” she added.

Towards revalidation

The GPhC, in response to the 2007 Government White Paper “Trust, assurance and safety — the regulation of health professions in the 21st century”, will be introducing arrangements for revalidation of pharmacists.

“CPD may form one source of evidence for revalidation that you submit to the GPhC as part of your revalidation process. Revalidation will require you to periodically demonstrate your continued fitness-to-practise,” Dr Duggan believes.

“The Society’s vision for professional development is to respond to members’ needs, delivering services which support them throughout their professional lives,” she said.


Citation: The Pharmaceutical JournalURI: 11020152

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