Continuing Fitness to Practise

What is continuing fitness to practise?

'Continuing fitness to practise' is the name given to a range of methods that can be used to support chiropractors to demonstrate their ability to meet the GCC's standards over the course of their careers. This process provides further assurance to members of the public that they will receive an appropriate standard of treatment and care from chiropractors.

The process is often referred to as 'revalidation', but the term we are now using is 'continuing fitness to practise' which reflects more closely what we are trying to achieve by building on our current CPD scheme to demonstrate that chiropractors remain up to date and fit to practise.   

Why are we introducing it?

Chiropractors already meet requirements relating to Continuing Professional Development before renewing their registration each year. The purpose of this new system is to provide additional assurance to patients that their chiropractor continues to meet the required standards. The government intends this assurance to be provided through arrangements put in place by each health care regulator.

What are we doing?

At its meeting on 31 March 2015, Council agreed to the Education Committee's recommendations that the new CPD scheme should be based on the principles of:

  • retaining an annual cycle which requires 30 hours of learning of which at least 15 hours is learning with others
  • retaining the use of learning cycles as the basis of planning, undertaking and reflecting on learning
  • removing the requirement for the learning to be categorised as 'improving patient care' or 'developing the profession'
  • introducing requirements to place across a three year cycle which would count against the hours requirements for those years (90 hours in total) of:
    • an objective activity (a case based discussion, peer observation and feedback, patient feedback or clinical audit for example)
    • a CPD activity in an area identified by the GCC as of importance to the profession as a whole. This may change over time (from persistent issues in fitness  to practise cases or where new legislation has been introduced for example)
    • a peer discussion to demonstrate engagement with learning and development and reflective practise
  • retaining a system of annual sampling and audit
  • improving the online CPD system to that it makes best use of up-to-date ICT
  • basing CPD on an overall approach that is formative and supportive of registrants so that they are enabled to change their behaviour in the interests of patients
  • giving further consideration as to how CPD might be linked to the new Code.

How are we doing it?    

Our work to develop the new scheme will be made up of:

  • Communication and engagement - to let our stakeholders know what we are planning, how they can be involved and to listen to their ideas on how to make it work
  • Research and development - to help us understand if and how our current CPD processes need to change and to help us discover what kind of peer discussion and objective evidence might be used
  • Consultation - to help us make sure our stakeholders understand our plans when they are closer to finalisation and have an opportunity to tell us what they think
  • Preparation - to make sure our stakeholders have time and all the information they need to prepare once our plans are complete
  • Evaluation - to make sure throughout the development activities and after implementation that we are having the impact we want and can improve over time

Why do we want to change how we do things?

We want to meet the expectation from members of the public that health professionals' continuing fitness to practise is periodically reviewed in an objective way. This means we want a chiropractor to involve someone else in their continuing fitness to practise activities and to begin collecting objective evidence regarding the impact of their practice for their patients.

We want to support a culture of professionalism by ensuring our Code are central to any consideration of continuing fitness to practise.

What happened to revalidation?

We have been reviewing CPD And introducing new arrangements for assuring continuing fitness to practise for some time, and initially this was called 'revalidation'. We decided not to use the word 'revalidation' anymore as it has a very specific meaning relating to a particular method of assuring continuing fitness to practise.