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The value of CPD is limited

The excellent news story by Debbie Andalo (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;294:11) ‘Random audit of pharmacists’ CPD records moves closer after evaluation’ has prompted me to offer my observations on continuing professional development (CPD) records.

CPD was piloted in North West England in 2003 and I was one of many pharmacists who attended several meetings with speakers from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society who attempted to educate us in recording CPD.

At the time we only had paper records and we did not, as quoted in Andalo’s piece, “perceive it as a tick-box exercise”, although we all considered that CPD itself would have little impact on our practice, other than waste our time.

With the introduction of online recording a few years later, CPD became utter nonsense because, with written paper records, a pharmacist’s handwriting proves who recorded it. But with online records no one knows who typed the records in, thus allowing CPDs to be done by proxy.

This proxy form of CPD was actually considered reasonable in some quarters because it was argued openly that, if pharmacists can employ an accountant to do the paperwork, why not someone to do their CPD recording?

Thus CPD is of value only to those employed in imposing CPD and those supervising it because if pharmacists fail to keep up with the latest advances in their practice, their patients and employer will notice, and that pharmacist will soon be out of a job. And it was this philosophy that kept generations of pharmacists up to date, not CPD.

Arthur Jolley


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068994

Readers' comments (1)

  • I would suggest that CPD is a philosophy / behaviour adopted by professionals to ensure they both 'keep up-to-date' and continue to enhance their professional abilities and services. As such it is of considerable value to them and to those they serve.
    How best to record CPD activities and to demonstrate to regulators one's adoption of such behaviour undoubtedly remains a problem.

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