Articles and Case Studies

The New Regime: Continuing Professional Development

17 Sep 2012

by Yvonne Baldwin

Claims Manager/Solicitor, Yvonne Baldwin provides a timely reminder about the Medical Board of Australia’s continuing professional development (CPD) requirements under national registration.

Prior to the inception of national registration, only registered medical practitioners who were Members or Fellows of AMC-accredited Colleges had to undertake annual CPD. The advent of national registration has resulted in a number of mandatory registration standards being applied to all applicants for registration and registered medical practitioners (except medical students and medical practitioners with non-practising registration) – including a CPD standard.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) requires medical practitioners to regularly participate in CPD if they are engaged in any form of medical practice. Any CPD undertaken needs to be relevant to the medical practitioner’s scope of practice.

Each year at renewal of registration, all medical practitioners are asked to declare that they have met the Board’s CPD standard. The Board is relatively flexible in what it deems a CPD activity to be – i.e. participation in knowledge-enhancing activities (such as online learning, courses and conferences) and practice-based reflective activities (such as clinical audits, performance appraisals and peer reviews).

CPD requirements

All registered medical practitioners who are required to undertake annual CPD must fulfil the requirements in whichever of the following categories is applicable to them:

  • Members or Fellows of an AMC-accredited College need to meet the CPD standards that have been set by their particular College.

  • Medical specialists and general practitioners who are on the specialist register but are not College Members or Fellows need to meet the CPD standards set by the relevant College.

  • The following medical practitioners need to participate in the supervised training and education programs that are associated with their position:

    • Those holding provisional registration (such as interns).

    • Those with limited registration for post-graduate training or supervised practice.

    • Those with general registration who are pre-vocational trainees or College vocational trainees.

  • Medical practitioners who hold limited registration for “area of need” must complete the CPD activities that are set out in their supervision plan.

  • Medical practitioners who hold limited registration for research or teaching need to complete a minimum of 10 hours CPD per annum, and this needs to be relevant to their teaching or research position. Medical practitioners who work in academia must complete the 10 hours CPD in addition to their teaching load.

  • Medical practitioners who hold limited registration in the public interest need to ensure that they complete CPD activities as specified in their conditions of registration. Any medical practitioner who holds such registration for occasional practice, prescribing and referral must complete a minimum of 10 hours CPD per annum and ensure that it focuses on the particular nature of their practice.

  • Any medical practitioner who is not on the specialist register and does not fit into any of the other categories above needs to complete 50 hours CPD per annum by way of self-directed learning.

Each year, AHPRA will conduct a random audit of medical practitioners to ensure that they have complied with the Board’s CPD requirements. Accordingly, medical practitioners need to keep a record of the CPD activities they have undertaken. The Board requires CPD records to be kept for three years.

Failure to comply 

Any failure to comply with the Board’s CPD registration standard will be treated as a breach of the legal requirements for registration, and although it “does not constitute an offence [it] may constitute behaviour for which health, conduct or performance action may be taken”.1

The other mandatory registration standards relate to:

  • criminal history
  • English language skills
  • recency of practice
  • professional indemnity insurance.2

If you have any queries about any of the mandatory registration standards, please contact MDA National’s Medico-legal Advisory Service on 1800 011 255.

1Section 128(2) Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009. 
2Available at:

Anaesthesia, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, General Practice, Intensive Care Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Practice Manager Or Owner, Psychiatry, Radiology, Sports Medicine, Surgery


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