CPD status: How do you compare with your colleagues?

Healthed

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Healthed

Healthed

According to the Medical Board of Australia, the learning theory underpinning the not-so-new-anymore CPD system suggests that GPs should start the year with a Professional Development Plan (PDP) to guide their continuing education choices – but half-way through 2024, two thirds of GPs have yet to develop one.

The CPD changes introduced last year have been widely decried as stressful, onerous and busy-work—with 30% of GPs saying the extra requirements are pushing them towards earlier retirement. And about 12% of GPs didn’t meet the December 31 deadline for 2023, and needed the grace period offered by the RACGP.

But how are GPs faring this year?

About 14% of GPs have already finished their CPD requirements for 2024, according to Healthed’s national survey of more than 1900 doctors.

Just 31% have completed their required Professional Development Plan which outlines how they’ll address their learning goals for the year. (The RACGP has gone on the record saying that while the PDP is mandatory, it won’t be reviewed by the College).

Measuring Outcomes is still our nemesis

Eighty-eight percent of GPs said they’re having the most difficulty fulfilling the requirements for the Measuring Outcomes category, while 10% said Reviewing Performance was most challenging, and just 2% named Educational Activity.

“The reviewing performance and the measuring outcomes requirement detracts from my clinical role as it is nothing more than a paperwork exercise. Did they really come up with it based on an evidence base?” one GP commented.

Some GPs said software difficulties were adding to their struggles.

“Measuring Outcomes is particularly difficult for a lonely doctor on the road who does not have a searchable medical record system handy – not easy to find/think of a clinical scenario to do MO,” another doctor said.

Compared with last year, 31% of GPs say it’s easier to find Measuring Outcomes activities, 23% said it’s harder and 46% said it’s about the same.

At this stage, how many hours have you completed in each of the following CPD categories?

Educational Activity: Average of 22 hours
Reviewing Performance: Average of 8 hours
Measuring Outcome: Average of 5 hours

“I am doing the same type of CPD as before…except for the horrible imposition of the MO category which is causing tremendous stress as I work in rural/remote Australia as a locum GP, only for short periods in individual practices,” another GP said.

“I’ve lost motivation as it made no difference to my skills last year,” another lamented.

How closely are you ‘watching the clock’?

GPs varied in how often they’re checking their tally of CPD hours: 12% said they’re looking at least once a week, 32% check monthly, 26% say they look every two to three months, 19% check a few times a year and 10% wait until the end of the year to find out how many hours they’ve accumulated — or not accumulated, as the case may be.

One GP noted there’s no need to login to check the official totals at this stage of the year: “I know I have lots of EA and not much of the other two categories.”

Earlier this year the Medical Board told Healthed that the changes weren’t asking GPs to do a whole lot more, and hypothesised that they might not be aware of how many typical practice activities could be claimed as CPD. However, two-thirds of 2238 GPs who were surveyed in March said they found claiming day-to-day clinical practice activities to be “not at all easy.”

In our follow-up survey on 25 June, 12% of respondents said the majority of their CPD came from their usual clinical activities, 14% said they accumulate about half their CPD this way, and 35% said usual activities accounted for “a small but useful proportion.”

But 39% had not been able to accumulate any meaningful amount of CPD through usual practice activities.

“My aim is to provide quality care to my patients, not to direct consults towards a CPD requirement,” is how one GP summed it up.

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You have completed the Educational Activities (EA) component of this activity.

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