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Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Overview of changes

From 1 January 2020, the way in which we assess CPD compliance has changed. There is a requirement to move to annual CPD hourly targets of 35 hours a year for veterinary surgeons and 15 hours for veterinary nurses. The change supports the need for every vet and vet nurse to undertake regular and relevant CPD.

1CPD app screenshot promoOn 27 January 2020, we introduced a new digital recording platform, 1CPD, for you to manage your CPD. This has replaced the online Professional Development Record (PDR).

We have also introduced outcomes-focused CPD, including a ‘reflect’ element in the ‘plan, do, record, reflect’ cycle. Our new CPD model focuses on the quality, impact and relevance of your CPD. We would encourage you to begin reflective practice as soon as possible, as it will become compulsory from January 2022.



Taking part in the CPD pilot - focusing on what's most beneficial for me and my patients 

Mary de Las Casas (veterinary surgeon)



What's the case for outcomes-focused CPD?

Professor Stephen May, former Chair of the RCVS CPD Policy Working Party, explains why the changes to CPD have been introduced.


How the veterinary professions' CPD compares to other professions


Was the profession consulted about the changes to the CPD policy?

We consulted with the RCVS Education Committee and Council about the change to annual hourly targets. We ran a consultation with the profession about the move to outcomes-focused CPD starting in 2016, with a pilot programme running from March 2017 to October 2018.

If you would like further details about the pilot, please contact the Education team at the RCVS. We invited members of the profession to help us user-test 1CPD, the new CPD platform, during its development; their input and feedback was crucial in ensuring that the platform is helpful and intuitive.


What is CPD?

Continuing professional development, or CPD, is the process of continually maintaining, improving and broadening your skills and knowledge, as well as developing personal qualities, which help to ensure you remain professionally competent.

Progressing your professional learning in whichever way is most relevant to you, will help you to develop and improve the professional service you provide.


Who has to do it and why?

All practising veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses listed on the RCVS Register must complete the minimum CPD requirement, regardless of whether they are working full-time or part-time.

The RCVS Codes of Professional Conduct state that all vets and VNs are obliged to maintain and continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills. CPD is therefore mandatory for all vets and VNs and should be seen as the continuous progression of capability and competence.

Do I need to record my CPD?

Yes, you need to keep a record of your CPD and the easiest way to do that is to use the 1CPD app or website to record your CPD.

Until 2022 you can record your CPD in any format as long as it clearly shows what type of activities you have undertaken and how many hours of CPD you have done.

We would also recommend that you keep a learning journal to keep notes of your learning and your reflections. If you use 1CPD all your notes and reflections can be recorded within the system so you do not need to keep any other records.