Please note that the Medical Council office will close at 3pm today to facilitate a staff event. The office will reopen at 9am on Monday 27th November.

Professional competence requirements

I am not clear what I need to do to maintain my competence

All doctors in the general, specialist and supervised division of the register have a duty to maintain professional competence by enrolling in a professional competence scheme and engaging in maintenance of professional competence activities which are relevant to their practice. Requirements are set out in the Medical Council’s Rules and Standards for professional competence see page 24. This booklet aims to provide guidance about what to do. To summarise:

  • You must accrue a minimum of 50 credits for continuing professional development activities, and participate in one clinical audit, each year (see page 16).
  • You have to record participation in these activities with the professional competence scheme.
  • From 2012 you will be required to declare to the Medical Council that you are maintaining your professional competence.

I am worried that I will be told that I need to engage in various activities that do not fit with my practice

Maintenance of professional competence is a flexible, self-directed and practice-based process for which each doctor is responsible, in compliance with Standards set by the Medical Council. You will assess your own needs and develop a unique and personal plan for the maintenance of professional competence. Recognised postgraduate training bodies will provide support, and will suggest examples of applicable activities, but the question of prescribing a curriculum does not arise. You are responsible and accountable for your own maintenance of professional competence. You should engage in activities which interest you and which will ultimately benefit your practice.

I am worried that I will not find time and support to maintain my professional competence

All of the professional competence activities in which you will engage will be relevant to your day-to-day practice of medicine. Most will be part of your day-to-day practice (e.g. clinical audit, participation in local practice-based quality assurance activities etc). You are responsible and accountable for your own maintenance of professional competence. As the process is flexible and self-directed, you should allow time for activities which will support you in your day-to-day activities. The Act requires employers to facilitate the maintenance of professional competence.

I am worried that by enrolling in a professional competence scheme I will be subjected to a performance assessment

A referral to performance assessment can only occur if the Medical Council receives a complaint about you. Enrolling in a scheme to support your maintenance of professional competence will help you to improve your practice continually. Professional competence schemes established by the Medical Council under arrangement with recognised postgraduate training bodies are not designed to assess performance, nor are they intended to create referral of complaints to the Medical Council.

I want to engage in activities which are not accredited by recognised postgraduate training bodies

External activities which have been accredited by recognised postgraduate training bodies have been reviewed to ensure quality. However, from time to time you may engage in educational activities which have not been through an accreditation process by a recognised postgraduate training body. You should satisfy yourself that these activities are relevant to your own need and reflect on how they benefit your maintenance of professional competence. 30 | Maintenance of Professional Competence

I am worried about information being released relating to my maintenance of professional competence

Part 11 of the Medical Practitioners Act includes specific provisions to preserve confidentiality of information relating to professional competence schemes. You can rest assured that all records held about a doctor regarding professional competence schemes are held in the strictest of confidence in accordance with the Medical Practitioners Act and relevant Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation.

I want to engage in activities which are not accredited by recognised postgraduate training bodies

External activities which have been accredited by recognised postgraduate training bodies have been reviewed to ensure quality. However, from time to time you may engage in educational activities which have not been through an accreditation process by a recognised postgraduate training body. You should satisfy yourself that these activities are relevant to your own need and reflect on how they benefit your maintenance of professional competence.