All dentists on the UK Dentists Register are have been required since January 2002 to carry out continuous dental training, known as continuing professional development. Since 2008, other dental professionals have also been required to undertake CPD.
What is continuing professional development?
Continuing professional development is now essential in many areas of medicine, as well as dentistry. It is further training, which allows dentists to develop new skills, learn about new treatments and technology and ensure that they are up to date with procedures and protocol.
Continuing professional development involves a series of short courses which cover a range of different topics and subjects. Many of the sessions and workshops are practical, others take the form of talks or lectures and some are delivered online via computer aided learning (CAL). CPD can also take the form of private study.
According to the General Dental Council (the GDC), dentists must complete and keep record of at least 250 hours of continuing professional development over a five year period. At least 75 hours of this total must be verifiable CPD, which means that the activity must have:
● Clear objectives and aims
● Clear educational aim
● Documentary proof
● Quality regulations
The remainder can be general CPD, which may include:
● Distance learning
● Background research
● Reading journals
● Multimedia learning
● Vocational learning
● Clinical audit
● Peer review
What subjects should CPD cover?
CPD can cover a range of different subjects, however, the GDC recommends spending a minimum of 10 hours on medical emergencies and a minimum of 5 hours on disinfection and decontamination and radiography and radiation protection. Other key areas include handling complaints, infection control and legal and ethical issues.
When does CPD start?
A dentist should start undertaking CPD on the 1st January in the year after they registered, from this date there is a 5 year cycle, within which they must complete their 250 hours.