CPD 2020 policy changes

The RCVS is introducing changes to the CPD policy for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses from January 2020.


Annual CPD hourly targets

From January 2020, the way in which the RCVS assesses CPD compliance will change, and so there will be a requirement to move to annual CPD hourly targets of 35 hours a year for veterinary surgeons and 15 hours a year for veterinary nurses.

The change supports the need for every vet and VN to undertake regular and relevant CPD. The number of CPD hours required overall has not increased, but the way in which CPD is managed has changed. The move from a rolling 3-year period to annual hours makes it simpler to understand what is required, ensuring everyone achieves their targets each year. It also takes individual circumstances such as parental leave into account, allowing vets and VNs to apply to pause their CPD requirements for up to 6 months, without the need to make up the hours when they return to work. This reduces the burden on vets and VNs returning to work after a break and makes it clear what the requirements are for each year.


New CPD recording platform

We are introducing a new digital recording platform, 1CPD, for vets and VNs to manage their CPD. This will replace the online Professional Development Record (PDR) from January 2020.

1CPD will make it straightforward for vets and VNs to plan, manage and record their CPD. It will be available as an app for iOS and Android, as well as a web version. It will incorporate new features such as image uploads and voice recording, intuitive features that will support the need to reflect on your CPD and the impact it has had on your patients and/or practice. 1CPD makes it possible for you to record and reflect on the go rather than waiting until you are at your desk. The new platform will be linked to your RCVS ‘My Account’ so you will only need one set of login details to access all your RCVS information.


Outcomes-focused CPD

We will be introducing compulsory outcomes-focused CPD for vets and VNs, including a 'reflect' element into the 'plan, do, record, reflect' cycle. 

The new RCVS CPD model focuses on quality, impact and relevance of CPD. Research across a range of professions has demonstrated that CPD activities that focus on outcomes encourage professionals to reflect on what they have learned, how they will apply their learning and how it will improve their practice. This has a positive impact on professionalism and patient health outcomes. Outcomes-focused CPD becomes mandatory from January 2022 however we are encouraging veterinary professionals to begin reflective practice as soon as possible.

Vets and VNs chatting

Frequently Asked Questions

CPD policy change

  • 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 is crucial in ensuring that the platform is helpful and intuitive.

  • There are no changes to what constitutes CPD - guidance is provided on our current Continuing Professional Development (CPD) page under the heading 'What Counts as CPD?'. We don't specify the subjects, activities or type of CPD to be undertaken. Anything that is relevant to you, as a veterinary professional, can be counted as CPD so it does not have to be clinically related or formal learning. Work-based learning such as case or practice discussions can be a great form of CPD.

  • Yes – all veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses listed on the RCVS Register must complete the minimum CPD requirement of 35 hours per year for veterinary surgeons and 15 hours per year for veterinary nurses, regardless of whether they are working full-time or part-time.

    This applies equally to vets approaching retirement who may carry out only a small number of veterinary duties and procedures each year.

  • We are allowing vets to carry over 25 hours of CPD and VNs 10 hours of accumulated CPD from 2019 to 2020. This will apply once, in 2020, only. It is only applicable to vets and VNs who have been CPD-compliant from 2017 to 2019.

  • We recommend that vets and VNs who take time away from work keep up with CPD as long as you remain practising on your respective Register. This is to help you keep your skills, knowledge and experience up-to-date and place them in a stronger position once you return to work.

    In cases of planned or unplanned leave, vets and VNs can apply to pause your CPD requirements for up to 6 months. Once you return to work, your CPD requirements will be calculated on a pro-rata basis against the annual hourly targets. If you need to take a longer break, please contact the Education team to discuss.

    Veterinary nurses who are unable to maintain their CPD requirement during an absence from work are encouraged to remove their name from the Register. If you return to register after a period of 6-18 months you will not need to pay a restoration fee.  

  • VNs who return to register after a period of 6-18 months will not need to pay a restoration fee.

  • If you’re absent from work and feel unable to meet the minimum CPD requirement but need to stay on the Register, you can apply to pause your CPD for up to 6 months. You can apply to pause your CPD through the RCVS CPD recording platform, 1CPD. Applications cannot be made retrospectively, but there are no restrictions on how many times you can apply to pause your CPD.

    If you anticipate any issues meeting requirements and are not eligible to pause your CPD, please contact the Education team by email cpd@rcvs.org.uk or call 020 7202 0701.

1CPD digital platform

  • 1CPD has been developed in consultation with the profession to support your CPD in the most intuitive way possible. It includes features such as voice recording and image uploads which helps support planning and reflecting on your CPD.

    We strongly encourage you to use it once it launches in January 2020; it will become mandatory from January 2022. 

  • 1CPD will be available in app format for iOS and Android. It will also be available as a web version if you can't or prefer not to use the app. 

  • Yes. 1CPD will include support within the app. We will produce user guides and email support will also be available. 

  • No. As soon as 1CPD launches in January 2020, the PDR will no longer be available. All data in the PDR will be securely transferred to 1CPD. 

  • 1CPD data is secured using industry-standard mechanisms. All data is encrypted at rest and in transit. Access to RCVS servers and databases is restricted to specific members of staff, and firewalls restrict traffic appropriately.

  • Please refer to the 1CPD Privacy Policy, which is accessible within the app and on the website.

  • We will not ask for reflective records from veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses as part of our concerns, investigation or disciplinary processes.

    However, we do not control the actions of the courts and recorded reflections, such as in ePortfolios or for CPD purposes, are not subject to legal privilege. Therefore disclosure of these documents might be requested by a court if it is concerned that they are relevant to the matters to be determined in litigation. The likelihood of records needing to be produced in court may be reduced if reflective records focus on reactions to, and learning from, an incident. 

Outcomes-focused CPD and reflection

  • Unlike vets and VNs, other professions such as midwives and doctors have re-validation/re-certification requirements and CPD compliance is assessed during that process. Non-compliance can lead to removal from their professional register. Many regulators, including the General Medical Council and the General Dental Council, include a requirement for reflection within their CPD. 

  • Reflection involves a systematic and critical analysis of the learning and development you have undertaken, thinking about if and how you will make changes to how you work as a result. 

  • Reflection helps you get the most out of your CPD, and it doesn't have to be time consuming. If you use the 1CPD recording platform you can reflect on your learning by recording a voice memo or short note. Some useful prompts for your reflection are:

    • How did this CPD relate to your learning needs and plan?
    • What are the key things you learned?
    • What impact has the CPD had on you as a professional or in your practice?

    If you reflect on your CPD and conclude you didn't learn anything, this can still be helpful as it can help you plan what you will do differently in the future. 

  • Yes. If you have an immediate learning need then reflection on a case in practice, particularly if this is undertaken with colleagues or peers, can be useful and would be applicable to record as CPD. 

  • Reflection is central to outcomes-based CPD and we expect veterinary surgeons and nurses to reflect as part of their CPD commitments. If there is evidence that vets or VNs are not routinely reflecting on their CPD they have completed, the Education team may follow this up in the first instance.