Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD for doctors working in anaesthesia, intensive care and pain medicine

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to any learning outside of undergraduate education or postgraduate training which helps you maintain and improve your performance. It covers the development of your knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours across all areas of your professional practice. It includes both formal and informal learning activities.\
Examples of CPD include external activities: regional, national or international educational meetings organised by national bodies, specialist societies or commercial providers; internal activities: locally-organised teaching programmes and clinical governance meetings within the employing organisation; and personal study: reading of relevant books and journals, and e-Learning.
One credit or one point equates to one hour of learning activity and the RCoA recommends that doctors should complete a minimum of 50 hours CPD per year of which a minimum of 20 hours per year should be completed in each of external and internal activities. The key message is that over a five-year revalidation cycle there should be a balanced approach to your CPD across your whole scope of practice.
The full RCoA Guidance for Continuing Professional Development is available here.


RCoA resources to support CPD

The College offers a number of resources to support doctors with their CPD.

CPD Online Diary – a ‘one stop’ solution to support consultant and career grade doctors in planning and recording their educational and professional development activities. Access is free to subscribing Fellows and Members of the College.

A web app version is also available. This is fully compatible with iPads and iPhones, Android devices and Windows Phones and it mirrors the key functions from the desktop (full) version of the CPD Online Diary. It also allows for CPD activities to be added and reflected upon ‘on the go’ – even when the device is offline and there is no signal / internet connection.

CPD Matrix – a resource designed to assist anaesthetists and appraisers in their appraisal discussions and to help guide individual CPD requirements as part of the personal development plan.

CPD event approval – a free of charge service for NHS Trusts and hospital boards, registered charities, specialist societies and associations. The benefits of CPD approval by the College include that approved events are featured in the directory of approved courses and events on the College website and can use the RCoA’s revalidation logo.

BJA and BJA Education Online – the following journals are published by Elsevier and are available free of charge to Members of the College: The British Journal of Anaesthesia (BJA) and BJA Education (BJAEd). BJAEd offers an MCQ test for each article, for which a ‘pass’ generates a PDF certificate of completion, and reading the BJA online also counts as an approved CPD personal activity.

Online learning with e-Learning Anaesthesia (e-LA) – e-LA is an interactive and engaging web-based learning resource developed by the Royal College of Anaesthetists in partnership with e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH). Phase 2 features 13 modules to support intermediate and higher specialist training including CPD for consultants.

Webcasts – free video recordings of lectures (including lecture slides) from selected RCoA events which can be recorded as personal study for CPD credits.


CPD and the Technology Strategy Programme

As part of the RCoA-wide Technology Strategy Programme, in August 2018 a new lifelong learning platform was launched at the RCoA which incorporates a logbook plus updated version of the trainee e-Portfolio, significantly enhanced following previous feedback.

During 2019 it is planned for the CPD functionality (member accounts to record and reflect upon completed CPD activities, and guest accounts for event providers to apply for CPD approval), to be incorporated into the lifelong learning platform to develop a truly joined-up system. Further updates will follow on our website and if you would like to get involved in testing the new system please contact