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Doctors - What you need to know

  • You are legally obliged to maintain your professional competence.
  • You should be enrolled in a professional competence scheme (unless you are in a recognised training post).
  • Schemes will be run by postgraduate training bodies. These bodies have been recognised by the Medical Council for this purpose. 
  • Special arrangements have been made for doctors practising overseas.
  • Doctors should follow the Medical Council’s "Standards for Maintenance of Professional Competence” which define the process to be followed as well as the framework for the broad types and quantities of activities to be pursued annually. 
  • It is expected that, on average, each doctor will complete a minimum of 50 hours of continuing professional development activity per year spread across internal (maintenance of knowledge and skills), external (practice evaluation and development), personal learning and research/teaching categories.  In addition, each doctor is expected, on average, to complete a minimum of one clinical audit/ quality improvement project per year.  Doctors will plan activities in accordance with their needs based on own day-to-day practice.
  • At the end of each year of professional competence activity you will receive a Statement of Participation from your professional competence scheme which will set out your activity in that year, and your activity in each of the previous four years.  This document is very important as you may be asked to present it to the Medical Council if you are requested to validate that you are enrolled in professional competence schemes and engaged in activities. 
  • When you apply to retain your registration with the Medical Council, you will be required to declare that you are maintaining your professional competence.  Failure to make this declaration will place your continuing registration at risk.
  • Following this, the Medical Council will begin procedures to validate that doctors are enrolled in professional competence schemes and engaged in activities.  This validation will be based on the Statement of Participation from your professional competence scheme.  In addition, postgraduate training bodies will operate verification processes which will seek to assure that you can provide documentary evidence to support credits which you have claimed for maintenance of professional competence activity. 
  • Information regarding your maintenance of professional competence is confidential and the Freedom of Information Acts do not apply. 

Framework for maintenance of professional competence activities

Framework for maintenance of professional competence activities
Type of activity Minimum credits per year *
External - maintenance of knowledge and skills 20
Internal - practice evaluation & development 20
Personal learning 5
Research or teaching 2 desirable
One clinical or practice improvement audit 1**
* In general, 1 hour of activity accrues 1 credit ** In general, one clinical or practice improvement audit equals 12 hours of activity

Each doctor is expected to obtain a minimum of 50 credits per year through continuing professional development activity. Activities will comprise of relevant external, internal, personal learning and research/teaching categories. In addition, each doctor is expected to complete one clinical audit per year.

The activities undertaken to implement maintenance of professional competence will enable doctors to update and continually develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to meet their self-assessed needs. Doctors are advised to reflect on activities and take action to achieve this aim.

Postgraduate Training Bodies

For a list of Postgraduate Training Bodies and professional competence schemes, click here.

Additional Information