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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an integral part of a chiropractors professional life.  To maintain and enhance professionalism chiropractors are expected to continually update their skills and knowledge, enabling them to deliver high-quality care to patients and practise safely and effectively.

We have produced a brief guide on completing CPD, which we ask that chiropracators read before completing the online CPD summary. 

Registrants can complete their CPD summary on our portal [here].

We expect all registered chiropractors (whether practising or non-practising) to keep up-to-date with developments within the profession. This is to ensure that they are practising in both their patients and their own best interests. The CPD scheme is our way of checking that chiropractors are continually broadening and deepening their knowledge; and our legislation (CPD rules) sets out the annual CPD requirements for all chiropractors.

During the pandemic we appreciate that CPD opportunities are mainly online through professional associations and the Royal College of Chiropractors. Learning with others can also be informal, for example through virtual meetings to discuss cases with colleagues.

Registrants may apply to have all or part of their learning requirement potentially waived if they have exceptional circumstances and we accept applications for a waiver via the online portal - further details can be found below.

First Aid - There are no additional First Aid questions in the 2020/ 21 CPD summary. However, you are expected to ensure your First Aid provision is suitable for patients and is cognisant of the first aid scenarios that may arise.


If you have any any questions about CPD you can email us:

The GCC CPD scheme provides a structure for you to follow to satisfy the statutory CPD rules. The basic requirements of this programme are that each year you:

  • identify your learning needs/interests and produce a personal plan of learning activities to address them,
  • undertake and record at least 30 hours of CPD activity in accordance with your plan, of which 15 hours or more constitutes learning with others; and
  • reflect on one learning activity and answer four questions so we can understand what you took away and where it will lead you next.

In addition, the CPD activity you undertake:

  • must constitute a learning experience for you (therefore, carrying out your normal working activities does not meet the requirements of the scheme); and
  • must be focused on advancing your professional development as a chiropractor, i.e. improving the care you provide for your patients, and/or developing the chiropractic profession.

Learning with others can include both formal learning, such as seminars and lectures, as well as informal learning, which includes clinical audit.

A few pointers to help you get your summary right first time

  • When you are thinking about what learning you wish to undertake for the year, remember CPD is about your professional learning and how it relates to your patients, so shouldn't be about the business of the clinic, or activity associated with your personal life
  • When completing the reflective statement for one of your learning activities, make sure it is specific to that activity and not a general comment about the learning you have done as a whole
  • We undertake random sampling and if your response doesn't answer the questions we may require you to provide more information
  • Please read the brief guide for further advice on completing your summary.

CPD for new registrants or those re-joining the register

Our rules require that you only need to submit 2.5 hours for each full month of the CPD year that you are registered. This means that if you joined the register on 1 January, you will need to have completed 8 months of CPD, which amounts to 20 hours in total. In all cases half of the CPD requirement must include learning with others, so for the example about, the registrant would need to complete a minimum 10 hours with others.

If you are a recent graduate and are taking part in the Royal College of Chiropractors’ Post-Registration Training Programme, you can include most of that activity as part of your CPD, the only exception being the business development training

A key aspect of reinforcing and deepening the learning gained from your CPD activity is reflective evaluation. Along with the other healthcare regulators, the GCC is committed to supporting reflective practice among registrants, and the CPD reporting form is designed to assist you with this. We will be providing registrants with separate, wider-ranging guidance on reflective practice in due course.

You might find it helpful to discuss with others - colleagues, peers or those whose role is to facilitate learning and development - the learning and development opportunities that are likely to be most effective in meeting your learning objectives, although this would not form part of your CPD itself.

Such discussions might usefully consider:

  • the learning opportunities that you have used in the past and what you have gained from them
  • your confidence in relation to learning and development generally and the different methods available
  • other aspects of your life that might support or hinder your learning and development
  • the learning and development opportunities that are available or that can be arranged and that will be effective in meeting your learning needs and interests (e.g. conferences might be useful for updating but be less use in terms of applying knowledge and skills in practice)
  • the cost (direct and indirect) of learning and development opportunities - we recommend you make careful choices when investing time and money in CPD products and services
  • any funding that is available for different forms of learning and development and how you can apply and use such funding
  • whether there are any restrictions on accessing different learning and development opportunities (e.g. whether you need to possess certain qualifications or be of a certain age)
  • how to manage practical issues related to learning and development such as location, timing and travel
  • the benefits of you gaining formal recognition or accreditation for specific aspects of your learning and development.

You can find further information on the Continuing Professional Development scheme in our guidance. Submission of a CPD summary is only accepted via the GCC portal.

CPD summaries must be completed onine only, annually before 30 September, which is one month following the end of the CPD year.

We have produced a brief guide to help you in completing the online summary.

While we audit only a small proportion of summaries, we always encourage registrants to upload evidence of the learning with others they have done at the time they fill in the form as it is easier than doing so some months later.

We appreciate that registrants will occassionally have difficulty in completing their summary or learning due to unforeseen events and that's why the scheme allows the Registrar to waive part or all of a registrants learning for one year if they have exceptional circumstances.

For registrants who are going through difficult times that prevent them from undertaking learning activities, our rules allow us the waive all or part of the learning for a CPD. 

What can I do if I haven’t completed all or part of the CPD requirement by the end of the CPD year?

In certain circumstances the Registrar may exercise a discretion to waive all or part of a registrant’s CPD requirement or allow longer for CPD to be completed if exceptional circumstances have prevented you from completing your CPD by the end of the CPD year.

When might the Registrar use his/her power of waiver?

Ill health and bereavement are both generally acceptable. However, all applicants are considered on a case by case basis.

What is not considered as an exceptional circumstance?

The following list gives details of some circumstances that are not generally considered to be exceptional and for which CPD is unlikely to be waived:

  • Work pressure
  • Short-term problems or illness
  • Personal disruptions that are not serious, which includes travel, holidays etc.
  • Financial problems
  • Retirement
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Cancellation of a CPD event.

How do I apply for waiver of my CPD?

If you have not been able to do some or all of your CPD because of exceptional circumstances, you can apply for a waiver via the portal. Once signed in go to My CPD Summary and click the waiver link to complete the details and providing evidence. You will be asked to confirm the number of hours you have not been able to complete, this is because the Registrar will need to know how many hours he is being asked to waive.

What form of evidence is acceptable?

The following table gives details of some forms of evidence that we are likely to accept. In some circumstances that Registrar may ask to see evidence of a specific course that you booked.

Circumstances Evidence which is likely to be acceptable
Long term illness A medical report or letter from the medical practitioner responsible for your care, confirming the nature of the illness, the date you became ill and also when you may be able to undertake CPD and fill in your paperwork again.
Personal circumstances An original medical report along the lines above. Certified copy of Death certificate in case of bereavement
Family illness A medical certificate or letter from the medical practitioner responsible for the care of the patient, confirming the nature of the illness.
Maternity/ Paternity A letter confirming the period of leave from your employer, documentation showing maternity/ paternity pay, or a GP letter.

Each year every registrant must complete half of the learning requirement with others. For most registtrants that means at last 15 hours in total must be with others.

While learning can take place in a formal setting, such as a lecture or seminar, it can also be informal. We accept many different forms of informal learning, and examples would include:

  • case discussions
  • shadowing other chiropractors or healthcare professionals
  • talking to other healthcare professionals to understand their approach.

However, it's important to remember the requirement to keep some evidence to show they have done this learning in case we audit their CPD.

As evidence of informal learning we suggest making a quick note of the key matters discussed, the date, number of hours and those attended. Then ask all of those in attendance to sign the note and email a copy to each one, that way everyone can upload it when they fill in their summary.

We have compiled the following table, which you may find helpful. It outlines some of the commonly noted activities that we can only accept as CPD learning activities if the learning outcomes are specified.

Example Activity

To be a CPD learning activity you must...

Using social media tell us how you are learning and developing through this activity
Spine checks tell us about the time you spent offering spine checks at a community event (for example) – and what you learnt while you were there
Voluntary work tell us about how the learning from your volunteering has contributed to your professional learning and development
Committee work

let us know about your work with a committee and describe how it contributes to your or the wider profession’s learning and development

Teaching ensure your own learning and development is being taken forward; it is not enough to repeat a session/teach a class as usual
Gaining practice building information ensure this is not solely for business (as opposed to learning) purposes, for example finding out how to increase your patient numbers to maximise business growth
Visiting exhibition stands at conferences discuss and/or think about what you are seeing on the stands, rather than just having a look

We routinely audit CPD summaries to check the quality of returns and to ensure compliance. This gives us, the public and patients confidence that all registered chiropractors are keeping their skills and knowledge up to date.

Audit of 2020/ 21 CPD summaries

As part of the audit of 2020/ 21 summaries we are focussing on the learning activity registrants decided to reflect on. This is listed on the summary as being the one they felt was the most significant to them.

Why the change?

We have previously focused mainly on checking evidence of attendance. However, this tells us little about how well registrants are engaging with the process. We want to ensure the CPD audit is more meaningful to you, and useful for us as the regulator, in demonstrating that you take your continued learning seriously.

What is the GCC hoping to achieve?

We will use the findings from the audit to inform our guidance to help improve compliance and to provide more support, with a particular focus on reflective practice.

What will I need to do?

You should complete the CPD summary as normal and upload evidence you have for your learning with others. Take care when you complete the summary and consider your responses to ensure they fully address the questions asked. Please refer to the guidance provided in this regard.

Will you be checking the evidence of my learning with others this year?

Whilst we will be concentrating on your significant learning activity, you must still upload evidence of all your learning with others.

How do I send evidence?

You can upload evidence of your learning via the portal in the same place that you complete your CPD record summary. Please do not post any documents to us as they will not be accepted.

What happens if my CPD summary is not acceptable?

If there is a question on how your CPD summary meets the requirements we will get in touch with you for further information, which you will need to submit within a set timeframe.

What happens if my response is not acceptable, or I do not respond?

If you provide a response that is unclear or does not show reflection, then we will work with you to understand why. If you wilfully do not comply, we may take steps to remove you from the Register. We take continued learning seriously and we expect all registrants to do so too.

Each year there will be a small number of cases where registrants have not met the requirements of the CPD scheme, or they have not submitted a CPD record summary at all.

In these cases, we always attempt to open a dialogue with the chiropractor to resolve any issues. However, in instances where registrants do not engage with the process, or their CPD does not meet the expected standard, the Registrar will have little option but to remove them from the register.

In these cases, the registrant will always be given the opportunity to engage with the process so that the Registrar may take as much information into account as possible on which to base his decision.

In the unlikely event that a registrant’s name is removed from the register for failing to comply with the CPD requirements, an option will be open to them to appeal the Registrar’s decision. An appeal must be lodged within 28 days from the date of the removal notice. Further information on the appeals process can be found here.

Read the report from a study carried out by The Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC) on behalf of the General Chiropractic Council: Results, Recommendations & Learning 2018-19

Have a look at the abridged report of a study carried out by the Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC) on behalf of the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).


Following the inquest, in November 2019, into the death of a patient in a chiropractic clinic in York (referred to in this report as the ‘York incident’), the Coroner asked the GCC to consider making first aid training a mandatory requirement for registrants.

In a Bulletin issued in January 2020, the GCC informed registrants they must develop competencies in recognising, assessing and managing emergency conditions that may be encountered in chiropractic settings . 

Read the full report. 

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