Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Maintaining and enhancing professionalism in chiropractic
As part of their registration, the GCC expects all chiropractors (whether practising or non-practising) to keep up to date with the latest developments within the profession. This helps to ensure that all registrants are practising in both their patients and their own best interests.
Its CPD programme is the GCC’s way of checking that all chiropractors are continually broadening and deepening their knowledge, as required by the annual CPD requirements specified within its legislation (CPD rules).
As part of the GCC’s commitment to continuing professional development, it has introduced a new ‘directed CPD’ element to its CPD programme. Directed CPD allows the GCC to have all registrants examine, self-reflect and evaluate their skills and abilities on a specific topic ie. first aid, communications etc. This element of the CPD programme will be subject to change for each CPD year.
See below for the current directed CPD subject.
In addition to directed CPD for all registrants, the GCC will also require recent graduates to include a focus on clinical governance within their directed CPD. The introduction of this additional directed CPD will help to support the GCC's aims of developing professionalism.
This additional directed CPD requirement is aimed at those who have qualified within the last two years and who have registered with the GCC for the first time from 1 July of any year.
See below for the current additional new registrant CPD requirement.
The GCC has produced a CPD Guide to assist registrants in completing their annual online CPD summary.
Registrants can complete and submit their annual CPD summary via the GCC Registrant Portal.
If you have any questions regarding your CPD, email email@example.com
The GCC CPD programme provides a set structure which registrants need to follow to satisfy statutory CPD rules. The basic requirements of this programme are that each year you must:
In addition, the CPD activity you undertake must:
Learning with others can include both formal learning, such as seminars and lectures, as well as informal learning, which includes clinical audit.
GCC rules require you only submit 2.5 hours for each full month of the CPD year that you are registered ie. if you joined the register on 1 January, you would need to complete 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 above, 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.
You may find it helpful to discuss with others (ie. colleagues, peers or those who facilitate your professional development etc) 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 may consider:
The GCC has produced a CPD Guide to assist registrants in completing their annual online CPD summary.
CPD summaries must be completed online before 30 September, which is one month following the end of the CPD year.
We have produced a registrant CPD Guide to assist you in completing your online summary.
While the GCC generally audits only a small number of CPD summaries each year, we do encourage registrants to update and upload evidence of their learning throughout the year.
We appreciate that registrants will occasionally have difficulty in completing their CPD summary or learning due to unforeseen events. As such, the GCC CPD programme does allow the Registrar to waive part or all of a registrant’s learning for one year if they have experienced exceptional circumstances.
The GCC’s requirement for registrants to reflect on their first aid skills and competencies in the 2019/20 CPD return resulted in a notable focus on first aid in registrants’ CPD considerations and activities. This is likely to have improved the relevance of registrants’ first aid competences.
The effectiveness of this approach highlights the general utility and value of ‘directed CPD’. The GCC has therefore decided to introduce a directed element to the CPD programme each year. This will contribute to developing the profession and lead to safer and more effective practice.
For the 2021/22 CPD year, all registrants will be required to include a particular focus on communication skills relating to Principle F in the GCC Code, which requires chiropractors to communicate properly and effectively with patients, colleagues and other healthcare professionals. This topic has been chosen following public perceptions research conducted in 2020 which highlighted that effective communication between chiropractors and patients can lead to both improved patient satisfaction and better outcomes. Furthermore, issues around communication tend to feature prominently in concerns and complaints raised about chiropractors.
As part of registrants' CPD returns for 2021/22, the GCC will require each registrant to self reflect on their communication skills. Specifically, the GCC will require registrants to describe how well they believe their communication skills enable them to provide a safe and effective service for their patients, and how they have addressed and/or plan to address any areas which they have identified in need of development/improvement.
The GCC has added two questions (each with two parts) to its online CPD portal to enable registrants to provide this information:
1. Thinking about your communication skills & competencies:
(a) how well do you feel these enable you to provide a safe and effective service to your patients, and
(b) where do you think the gaps/areas for improvement might be in your communication skills and competencies?
2. Thinking about areas for improvement in your communication skills and competencies:
(a) how have you/will you address these to enable you to improve your practice in this CPD year, and
(b) how do you intend to ensure your communication skills and competences continue to develop in future years?
If any of the CPD activities you undertake during the 2021/22 CPD year relate to developing your communication skills, you may wish to record these in the online portal among your CPD activities in the normal way. You may also choose to reflect on this particular activity in the reflection section.
As graduates join the GCC register at different times throughout the year, the clinical governance CPD requirements are required for recent graduates’ within their first two annual CPD returns.
Those who joined the register for the first time between 1 July 2021 and 31 August 2021, inclusive, must report completion of the clinical governance CPD requirements as part of their CPD return for 2021/2022.
Those joining the register for the first time from 1 September 2021 onwards, need to report completion of the clinical governance CPD requirements within their 2021/22 or 2022/23 CPD returns.
The GCC expects all recent graduates to commence their professional life with due regard to the essential elements of clinical governance. These include accountability for providing a safe and effective service, and safeguarding high standards of care.
Therefore, in addition to the directed CPD for all registrants, which for the 2021/22 CPD year will focus on communication skills (see directed CPD tab above), the GCC will also be directing the CPD of recent graduates, ie. those who have qualified within the last two years and who have registered with the GCC for the first time from 1 July 2021, to include a focus on clinical governance. The introduction of this additional directed CPD will help to support the GCC's aims of developing professionalism.
The GCC will expect new registrants to:
These additional CPD activities will continue to form part of the expected 30-hour CPD requirement for the year (not in-addition to).
There are six areas of directed clinical governance:
GCC requirements with regard to each of these areas are explained below. Participation in the Royal College of Chiropractors' ‘PRT’ postgraduate training programme is the most straightforward way to address these requirements.
Understanding which standards/guideline components are relevant to chiropractic practice and applying them in your practice is a vital part of ensuring that you are working in the best interests of patients and providing the best care. For this element of clinical governance CPD, the GCC expects you to reflect on:
Plan and undertake appropriate CPD activity that helps you identify relevant practice standards and understand how to apply them. The Standards-Based Practice module (ref ‘SBP1’) of the RCC PRT programme is designed to address this requirement.
Principle C of the GCC Code requires all chiropractors to select and apply appropriate evidence-based care. This helps to ensure that the most effective care available is provided with the aim of improving patient outcomes. For this element of clinical governance CPD, the GCC expects you to reflect on:
Plan and undertake appropriate CPD activity that develops your ability to apply an evidence-based approach in your care planning. The Using Evidence to Inform Practice module (ref ‘EBP1’) of the RCC PRT programme is designed to address this requirement.
Clinical audit evaluates existing practice against best practice with the aim of providing best quality care. Carrying out clinical audit involves identifying a particular area of interest/concern (often based on a published standard or guideline), collecting data to compare current practice to the standard; identifying shortcomings and making changes and, finally, re-auditing after a time period to close the loop and assess improvements. For this element of clinical governance CPD, the GCC expects you to reflect on:
Plan and undertake appropriate CPD activity that addresses/consolidates your understanding of clinical audit and its application, and/or outline the outcomes of a clinical audit you have undertaken in your clinic. The Clinical Audit module (ref ‘CA1’) of the RCC PRT programme is designed to address this requirement.
All chiropractors are encouraged to adopt incident reporting as part of a blame-free culture of safety, and a routine risk management tool. Sharing incidents locally helps to ensure that the practice provided in your clinic is safe and effective. Sharing safety incidents nationally and internationally using the Royal College of Chiropractors’ CPiRLS system allows all chiropractors to learn from the collective experience, thus contributing to improvements in safety and effectiveness across the whole profession. For this element of clinical governance CPD, the GCC expects you to reflect on:
Plan and undertake appropriate CPD activity that furthers your understanding of, and ability to apply, patient safety incident reporting and learning in the best interests of patients. The Safety Incident Reporting and Learning module (ref ‘SIRL1’) of the RCC PRT programme is designed to address this requirement.
Actively collecting feedback data from patients and directly involving them in measuring clinical outcomes are important aspects of assuring the quality of the services you provide. For this element of clinical governance CPD, the GCC expects you to reflect on:
Plan and undertake appropriate CPD activity that helps you identify/addresses any gaps in your understanding in this field. Consider participation in PROM and PREM data collection to help you drive improvement in your services to patients. The PROM/PREM learning module (ref ‘PRD1’) of the RCC PRT programme is designed to address this requirement.
Reflecting on your sense and understanding of a topic or situation allows you to identify areas for further learning and professional development. Reflective practice is all about active reflection on your experiences, and then putting changes or improvements into action in your everyday practice. For this element of clinical governance CPD, the GCC expects you to reflect on:
Plan and undertake appropriate CPD activity that helps you identify/addresses any gaps in your understanding of reflective practice and its application. The Reflective Practice learning module (ref ‘RP1’) of the RCC PRT programme is designed to address this requirement.
Guidance on how to complete the clinical governance elements of you CPD return using the online portal is provided, here.
The following table outlines some of the commonly noted activities that the GCC will only accept as CPD learning activities if the learning outcomes are specified.
To be considered a CPD learning activity, you must...
|Using social media||Tell us how you are learning and developing through this activity.|
|Spine checks||Tell us, for example, about the time you spent offering spine checks at a community event and what you learnt while you were there.|
|Voluntary work||Tell us how the learning from your volunteering has contributed to your professional learning and development.|
Tell us 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 purposes, as opposed to learning, 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.|
Each year, every registrant must complete half of their learning requirement with others. For most registrants, this means 15 hours of CPD learning with others.
While learning can take place in a formal setting, such as a lecture or seminar, it can also be informal. The GCC will accept many different types of informal learning, such as:
It is important to remember to keep some evidence of this activity for your CPD summary and report.
As evidence of informal learning, we recommend noting key issues and topics discussed, the date, number of hours and those who attended. Furthermore, ask all of those in attendance to sign the note and email a copy to each one. That way all in attendance can upload a copy for their own CPD summary and report.
The GCC routinely audits CPD summaries to check the quality of returns and to ensure compliance. This audit reassures the GCC, as well as the public and patients, that all registered chiropractors are keeping their skills and knowledge up to date.
The GCC has previously focused on checking evidence of attendance. However, this tells us little about how well registrants are engaging with the process. The GCC wants to ensure the CPD audit is more meaningful to you, and useful for us as the regulator, in demonstrating that you take your continued professional learning and development seriously.
As part of its recent CPD audits, the GCC has focused on different aspects, such as the responses to the first aid questions posed, and first aid activities undertaken in 2019/20 and for 2020/21 the focus was on the learning activity registrants have chosen to reflect on. This is listed in their CPD summary as the learning activity which they felt was of most significance to them.
The GCC will use the findings from the audits to inform our future guidance as well as help improve compliance and to provide more support, with a particular focus on reflective practice.
You should complete the CPD summary as normal and upload evidence you have for your learning with others. Take care when completing the summary and consider your responses to ensure they fully address the questions being asked.
You can upload evidence of your learning via the GCC Registrant portal in the same place that you complete your CPD record summary. Do not post any documents to the GCC as they will not be accepted.
If there is a question on how your CPD summary meets the requirements we will contact you for further information, which you will need to submit within a set timeframe.
If you provide a response that is unclear or does not show reflection, the GCC will work with you to understand why. If you wilfully do not comply, the GCC may take steps to remove you from the Register. The GCC takes continued learning and development seriously. 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 GCC CPD programme, or they have not submitted a CPD record summary at all.
In these cases, the GCC will 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 their 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.
For registrants experiencing difficult times, which prevent them from undertaking learning and development activities, GCC rules allow us the waive all or part of the CPD learning requirement.
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.
Ill health and bereavement are both generally acceptable. However, all applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The following generally not considered to be exceptional and for which CPD is unlikely to be waived:
If you have not been able to do some or all of your CPD due to exceptional circumstances, you may apply for a waiver via the Registrant portal. Once signed in, go to My CPD Summary, click the waiver link and complete the details, including providing evidence. You will be asked to confirm the number of hours you have not been able to complete as the Registrar will need to know how many hours they are being asked to waive.
The following details some forms of evidence that the GCC is likely to accept. In some circumstances that Registrar may ask to see evidence of a specific course that you booked.
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 when you may be able to undertake CPD and complete your report.
An original medical report as outlined above. A certified copy of the death certificate in case of bereavement
A medical certificate or letter from the medical practitioner responsible for the care of the patient, confirming the nature of the illness.
A letter confirming the period of leave from your employer, documentation showing maternity/paternity pay, or a GP letter.
This section gives a brief overview of the chiropractic register. It also gives prospective applicants for registration the information they need to apply.Find out More
A range of resources and information to help you maintain your registration with the GCCFind out More