Professional Competence Requirements for Doctors who do not see Patients

Clinical audit for doctors who do not see patients

You can still carry out an audit even if you are not in clinical practice. The principles around clinical audit can be applied to any area of activity you are engaged in. The following are examples of audits that can be carried out by any doctor who may not necessarily see patients on a day to day basis.

  • Measurement of individual/ departmental compliance with guidelines/protocols 
  • Self-assessment
  • Review/evaluation of teaching practices 
  • Evaluation of individual risk/incidents or complaints 
  • Skills analysis
  • Peer review
  • Management and retention of records 
  • Setting standards – guidance development in compliance with best practice methodology 

For further advice and guidance on all of the above activities, you should contact you professional competence scheme who can offer guidance and suggestions in relation to carrying out Clinical Audit.

Continuous professional development (CPD) activities

External Activities

External Activities is about the maintenance of knowledge and skills and usually takes places outside of the practice/working environment. Doctors should be accruing a minimum of 20 external CPD credits each year. Generally external activities are found to be relatively straight forward to accumulate. The following are some examples on how this can be achieved:

  • Attending conferences, national and international meetings 
  • Faculty or academic meetings
  • Courses and activities organised and run through postgraduate training bodies 
  • Online learning 
  • Courses, workshops or seminars

Internal activities

Internal activities are defined as those which relate to practice evaluation and development. For doctors not in practice, accumulating the 20 credits required annually can be challenging.

Doctors not in clinical practice can meet the requirements by participating in some of the following activities:

  • Retired doctors can consider forming a journal club with other retired doctors. 
  • Peer review group meetings 
  • Attending case presentations
  • Acting in a professional advisory capacity and the activities associated with this work can be recorded as an internal activity
  • Preparation work for examination or for lectures

Personal Learning

Personal learning credits relate to study, including journal reading, online learning or personal reading. This type of activity is largely done on a self-directed basis but doctors are encouraged to reflect on what is learnt from each activity. Doctors are required to obtain a minimum of 5 personal learning credits per year.

Research or teaching

This category is not mandatory, although it is recommended accumulating at least 2 credits per year. Examples include:

  • Publication of a paper in a scientific journal
  • Poster presentation 
  • Postgraduate examiner 
  • Contribution to setting standards, guidelines or policy 
  • Research

Your postgraduate training bodies professional competence scheme can offer specific advice on any of the above categories of CPD activities that would be most relevant to your area of practice and should be contacted for further guidance.

If your role is entirely comprised of non-patient-facing services, the principles of clinical audit can be applied to your professional practice as an improvement project. Doctors should contact their postgraduate training body for guidance and support.