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Continuing professional development: putting the learner back at the centre
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  • Published on:
    A response to Iniobong and Itoro Udo

    We thank Iniobong and Itoro Udo for their interest in our article and their comments. Issues of cost (in the broadest sense, financial, personal, service provision etc.) are of course important when we consider CPD. This is also more challenging in the current financial climate with likely pressure on study leave budgets. Other specific issues and costings they raise, however, concern a separate (although related) issue, the costs of postgraduate training to trainees. We specifically did not consider this group as they are excluded from the definitions of CPD we used. We have underlined the specific phrases from the GMC and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges respectively;
    “any learning outside of undergraduate education or postgraduate training that helps you maintain and improve your performance. It covers the development of your knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours across all areas of your professional practice. It includes both formal and informal learning activities.”[1]
    “A continuing process, outside formal undergraduate and postgraduate training, that enables individual doctors to maintain and improve standards of medical practice through the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour. CPD should also support specific changes in practice” [2]
    [1] Guidance on Continuing Professional Development. 2012; Available from:

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Author of original article
  • Published on:
    What about the Cost of CPD?
    • Iniobong Udo, Consultant Physician (Locum) Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth.
    • Other Contributors:
      • Itoro Udo, Consultant Psychiatrist (Locum)

    We studied the review by Macdougall et al with interest.1 In our comment, we have chosen to view continuous professional development in the later, “broader” terms described by Macdougall et al, as learning and development always incur costs.1

    In considering the culture of CPD, the influence of costs on professional development has been omitted. This is a rarely researched area but of growing importance in our opinion. A recent joint statement by the Association of Surgeons in Training and British Orthopaedic Trainees Association criticised an increase in training fees, stating that it was “extremely disappointed” at this action, directed solely at trainees.2 This is against the backdrop of evidence showing that cost of junior doctor training is astronomical, averaging £17, 114, most of which are footed privately by junior doctors.3, 4 Dentists have also identified costs as possible impediment to continuing development.5

    The context in the National Health Service is the continuing challenging health economic situation and declining resources in which to provide cover for practitioners’ time to study. The situation described above is more likely to be acute amongst trainees, part-time healthcare staff and doctors in non-substantive positions. This may be the reason why this issue has not gained prominence in the CPD discussions. The high cost of professional development may influence choice of personal development plans and the resulting learning activities un...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.