At the June meeting of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Council, members agreed upon changes to the college’s policies on continuing professional development (CPD), including the hourly requirement and the processes for recording learning and development.
The paper had been brought forward by the RCVS Education Committee, and was previously approved by the RCVS Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council at its May meeting, with six key recommendations for changes to CPD policy:
- To change the CPD requirement – as stated in the Codes of Professional Conduct – to 35 hours per calendar year for veterinary surgeons and 15 hours in the same period for veterinary nurses, from the start of 2020. This replaces the previous requirement of 105 hours and 45 hours of CPD over a rolling three-year period for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses respectively.
- Making the use of the new CPD platform (currently in development) for recording learning and development mandatory from 2022.
- Giving veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who, upon renewing their registration, have confirmed their compliance with the requirement, the opportunity to download a certificate demonstrating this.
- The introduction of an administration fee (which is currently yet to- be determined) that will be charged to any veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses who continually (defined as two or more years in a row) fail to confirm their compliance with the requirement and/or fail to respond to requests from the College for their CPD records.
- Changing the words of the Codes of Professional Conduct to include the fact that CPD should be ‘regular’ and ‘relevant’.
- The continuation of the RCVS CPD Referral Group, which meets to consider what further steps should be taken in cases of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who continually fail to comply with CPD requirements and/or respond to requests.
The council agreed, by a majority vote, to approve the above recommendations.
RCVS council member Dr Sue Paterson, who introduced the paper and is the incoming chair of the education committee, said: “While the majority of both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses do recognise the importance of continuous learning and development for their professional practice, their clients and, ultimately, animal health and welfare, it’s clear that there has been a cohort of people in both professions who take a more lax view of undertaking CPD.
“The changes to our CPD policy are intended to tighten up our processes and are targeted at those who, when challenged about why they have not undertaken sufficient CPD, say that they will meet the requirement one or two years down the line as part of the rolling three-year system. The administration fee also recognises the amount of time and effort spent by staff in the College in contacting and chasing up those people who aren’t compliant.”
She added: “However, we also recognise the fact that some members of the profession may have personal circumstances that means they are unable to meet their CPD requirement in a given year – whether that’s because of parental leave or other caring responsibilities, or long term sick leave. So we will be retaining flexibility within the system and will be considerate and compassionate when taking into account individual circumstances when considering non-compliance.
“Furthermore, in light of the fact that the majority of vets and vet nurses do meet the requirement but also often go above-and-beyond it, we also thought it would be a good idea to introduce a downloadable compliance certificate in recognition of their achievement. This could be displayed, for example, in the practice and would be particularly useful for Practice Standard Scheme assessments.
“Over the coming months we will be fine tuning the details of these policies and will be making further decisions about how they will work in practice in due course.”
Vets and nurses who feel they will struggle to complete their CPD requirement within a 12-month period due to personal circumstances can contact RCVS confidentially at any time to discuss their difficulties on firstname.lastname@example.org
For full details about the decision, please the RCVS Council paper can be downloaded from the website.