CPD Matrix

The RCoA CPD Matrix was first published in 2010 and it is designed to assist anaesthetists and appraisers in their appraisal discussions and to help guide individual CPD requirements as part of the personal development plan. It consists of the following three Levels:

  • Level 1 includes the core knowledge topics, including basic science and medico-legal issues, which are universal to those who have trained as anaesthetists whatever their special interest area. Examples include Airway assessment (CPD Matrix code 1C01), Consent (1F01) and Critical incident reporting (1I01).
  • Level 2 focuses upon the knowledge and skills that are relevant to an individual’s ‘whole’ practice. By covering day-to-day and also potential on-call activity, this Level features a wide range of topics including Perioperative emergencies (2A06), Vascular access techniques (2D03) and Recognition and management of side effects and complications of regional anaesthesia (2G04).
  • Level 3 covers the knowledge and skills required by those whose routine clinical practice includes one or more special interest areas. Examples of the topics here include Vascular surgery (3A05), Ophthalmic (3A12) and Cardiothoracic (3G00).

The above Level descriptors demonstrate how the CPD Matrix is intended to be contextualised and interpreted in the light of individual requirements. In addition, the CPD Matrix should not be treated as a ‘tick-box’ exercise – it is not necessary to complete all of the topics during the five year revalidation cycle especially given the specialist and distinct nature of those in Level 3, but for the individual to demonstrate how their CPD has covered the topics relevant to all areas of their own professional practice.

The following example demonstrates how the CPD Matrix can be used.

Example: Consultant anaesthetist in a small District General Hospital

Dr A is a consultant working in an anaesthetic department that has 10 consultants. She provides anaesthesia for a broad range of surgical specialties and on-call provides cover for emergency theatre work, obstetrics and ICU. She is the lead consultant for obstetric anaesthesia.

CPD requirements

Dr A could review the core knowledge areas in Level 1 of the CPD Matrix and many of these will be covered via mandatory training activities at Trust level or can be achieved as e-Learning modules or locally-delivered teaching sessions. As Dr A has a broad based practice, 1B04 Advanced life support (relevant to practice) will be particularly appropriate.

At Level 2, Dr A will find a suggested broad range of CPD topics relevant to her job plan and those areas which she covers during on-call periods. Given the potential breadth of clinical practice, her CPD requirements will be broad and a clear plan should be developed early in her revalidation cycle. Whilst not all topics from Level 2 may be applicable, Dr A will need to satisfy herself and her appraiser that she remains up-to-date and fit to practise in allthe areas determined by her on-call duties.

As the lead consultant for obstetric anaesthesia, Dr A has a special interest in this area and should therefore review the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association website – the hyperlink is available in Level 3 of the CPD Matrix at 3B00 Obstetrics – for examples of relevant CPD activity.


Articles on how the CPD Matrix has been used by individuals and course organisers