A report into the impact of CPD training commissioned by the GMC found that GPs' CPD was better linked to appraisal than that of their secondary care counterparts.
GPs were also more likely to take part in learning alongside other professionals, unlike secondary care doctors who were 'anxious' about showing a lack of knowledge in front of other professional groups.
But GPs find it more difficult to find time to undertake CPD training ‘as this can have a direct financial impact and consequences for patient care’, the report said. GPs also struggle to find or fund locums to fill in for them while they take part in training, it said. Courses need to be well-designed and flexibly delivered, the report said.
GPs need to earn 250 CPD points for their annual appraisal over a five-year cycle. The RCGP recommends a system where GPs double the points they claim if they can show how they implemented learning in practice. The report said this system meant that general practice was able to demonstrate clearly the impact of CPD in a way that many other specialties could not.
Secondary care doctors were ‘culturally’ not expected to document how they have implemented their learning or record evidence of reflection, the report said, and were not used to CPD training being linked to appraisals.
The report said: ‘Doctors based in primary care are more ready for revalidation than their colleagues in secondary care. There is no doubt that general practice is well ahead of all the other specialities in its systems for supporting CPD and the cycle of implementation of learning into practice.’
The GMC needs to address the issue of no patient or public ‘involvement’ in CPD, it added. It also called for locums to be better supported by employers to carry out CPD training.
GMC chairman Professor Sir Peter Rubin said: ‘Revalidation ensures that all doctors take part in professional development but we need to have the time and space to undertake CPD, then be enabled to reflect on what we have learned and put it into our day to day practice. This research will help the GMC provide what support and guidance it can to doctors so they make the most of their professional development opportunities.’
The report said: ‘It was clear in the interviews that GPs were more likely to be participating in multi-disciplinary CPD than their secondary care colleagues.
‘Doctors in secondary care appeared to be resistant to the concept of multi-disciplinary learning even where the activity they were being trained for required the participation of other professionals. There was an anxiety that they could not show a lack of knowledge in front of other professional groups.’