The RCGP's latest guides to revalidation and CPD have clarified the requirements for GPs and warned that the quality of activity is just as important as the time spent.
In the third version of its revalidation guide, the college has implemented plans to simplify the CPD credits system.
The college says that 'in essence, one hour of education is one learning credit'. But GPs can claim two credits for each hour of education if they can show how it benefited patients, their practice or themselves.
Credits will be self-assessed and verified at annual appraisal, so GPs must ensure they do not over-estimate the value of their learning.
The college's revised CPD guide warns: 'It is the demonstration of learning achieved and relevance to the work that the GP undertakes that defines the credit.
'In short, the RCGP does not advocate the collection of certificates. Rather, a collection of self-assessed acquired knowledge relevant to the individual's working situation is required.'
The college suggests that the indicated time on certificates often has 'little or no bearing on actual time spent', and encourages GPs to claim the actual time.
Over the five-year revalidation cycle, GPs must gain at least 50 learning credits a year. The guides give examples of relevant work. Completing one of the RCGP's Essential Knowledge Updates and its linked challenge would earn 10 to 15 credits, doubling if an impact on practice is demonstrated. Attending a day's meeting on a specialist area could earn six credits.
The RCGP has also said instead of two clinical audits, GPs may be able to submit one audit and a quality improvement project every five years.
RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said: 'We are listening to what GPs are telling us. We have simplified our proposal relating to learning credits for this reason.'