Our guide to CPD

Watch our recorded webinar on An Introduction to CPD here.

The General Optical Council's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme has now formally replaced the Enhanced CET scheme. All registered Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians and Contact Lens Opticians must now earn a minimum number of CPD points by 31 December 2024 to be eligible to re-register in 2025. Fortunately, a lot of the new CPD scheme looks very familiar, but there are some fundamental changes too.

What's staying the same?

The new CPD cycle will run for 3 years (from January 2022 to December 2024)

The total number of points needed per cycle remains the same (36 points for most registrants with a further 18 for Therapeutic Optometrists)

Annual points and interactive points requirements are also the same (6 points per year and 18 interactive points per cycle)

There is still a requirement to complete Peer Review at least once in the cycle but this now includes DOs (see below), and CLOs and Therapeutic Optometrists must complete Peer Review in their specialism.

You will be able to log and track your points on a revised portal, accessible from MyGOC (opens on 17 January 2022)

What's changed?

There are two really fundamental changes plus some smaller, but important tweaks:

The big changes:

Only half of your total CPD requirement needs to come from provider-led CPD. For the rest, you can claim points for CPD you have organised yourself. This will allow you to claim points for anything you think has contributed to your professional development. This could be anything from reading up on a subject to implementing a new service in your practice. Or from organising a meeting in your own practice to attending a meeting abroad. Of course, if you prefer you can still continue to earn all your CPD points from provider-led CPD and CPDpoints.com continues to offer everything you need to meet the requirements of the CPD scheme.

It is now your responsibility as a GOC registrant to log CPD points yourself in the MyCPD system. When you do CPD through a provider, the provider will no longer award points to you. Providers will still give you a certificate, which you will need to upload as evidence of attendance when you log your point. Every time you complete CPD on CPDpoints.com we email a certificate to you, and you can access a copy of all your certificates at any time by logging in to your account on our website.

The important tweaks:

The first time you log in to the MyCPD portal, the GOC will ask you to complete a scope of practice document and agree to create and maintain a CPD plan. You need to identify what areas you want to complete CPD in and then show how the CPD you have completed fits with your plan. You'll be asked to agree to upload a plan in the first 3 months of the cycle.

Competencies have been replaced by domains. There are 4 core domains based on the standards of practice plus a specialist domain for CLOs and Therapeutic Optometrists. Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians will need to complete at least one point in every core domain over the 3-year cycle. CLOs and Therapeutic Optometrists need to earn points in their specialty domain as well.

The minimum duration of CPD is now 30 minutes. You can claim 0.5 points for activities that take at least 30 minutes, but less than an hour. Most activities that are at least an hour long are worth 1 CPD point, regardless of how long they are. Some provider-led CPD and Peer Review can still be worth up to 3 CPD points per activity.

All registrants, including Dispensing Opticians need to complete at least one Peer Review during the CPD cycle. Peer Review wasn't a requirement for DOs in the CET scheme, but many Dispensing Opticians participated in voluntary Peer Review anyway. The CPD scheme makes Peer Review a requirement for all registrants. CLOs and Therapeutic Optometrists must complete at least one Peer Review in their speciality.

A new audit process will audit a selection of CPD provision and registrant CPD plans throughout the CPD cycle to make sure that all CPD guidance is being followed.

Why is it changing?

One of the main criticisms of the CET scheme was that it was too restrictive; that it didn't recognise all the things we do in our professional lives that contribute towards our professional development. Others complained that limiting CET provision to specific formats that had to cover competencies related to entry-level qualifications stifled creativity and innovation. The CPD scheme is intended to free up registrants and providers to organise CPD that is more relevant to day-to-day practice. It will also put much more emphasis on us (the registrant) to take control of planning and carrying out our own professional development. The GOC will require us to create a CPD plan and log our progress against the plan using the online MyCPD system.

The GOC has published CPD guidance for registrants and you can read that here.

Will CPDpoints.com be providing CPD?

We have already changed our name to reflect the fact that we are a GOC approved CPD provider. Our website already contains enough CPD for you to meet all of your requirements under the CPD scheme. We are planning some exciting new CPD courses and will continue to provide at least one new CPD course every month with regular CPD webinars and online Peer Review sessions on top of that. All annual subscriptions and unused CET credits have rolled over and can be used to complete CPD.

If you have any questions about the new CPD scheme or about our CPD content you can email us on [email protected].

About the author

Peter Charlesworth MSc MCOptom

Peter Charlesworth is an optometrist and Chief Executive of CPDpoints.com. He is a former examiner and councillor of the College of Optometrists, a former member of the GOC’s fitness to practise committee and holds an MSc in Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science from the University of Manchester. He was Boots Opticians Tutor Practitioner at the University of Bradford for 7 years. His duties there included teaching the Law and Management module to final year students and a clinical investigative techniques module to the second year.

View all posts by Peter Charlesworth MSc MCOptom


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