Medical Board will change CPD for a ‘compelling case’

2 minute read

The board chair tells medical press that she has been closely monitoring the negative reactions to the new professional development regime.

The Medical Board of Australia has told The Medical Republic it “won’t hesitate to refine or adjust CPD requirements” – so long as GPs make a compelling case.

It comes on the same day as board chair Emeritus Professor Anne Tonkin writing in Australian Doctor that she “100% accept[s] that some doctors are not happy with the changes we have made to CPD”.

A special edition of the Australian Doctor newsletter released on Tuesday contained two op-eds from the clinical pharmacologist defending the changes to the continuing professional development scheme for doctors.

The scheme has attracted significant criticism from doctors due to its emphasis on self-reflection, which is based on what some have deemed to be a shaky evidence base.

A third article included an analysis of 17 studies that the board had used to inform the new system, which officially launched last year.

Very few of the papers contained Australian research, and very few of the studies were exclusively doctor-focused.

“We recognise that there is not extensive Australian-specific research available, but it is usually difficult to find answers to questions that have not been asked,” Professor Tonkin told TMR.

“It’s still too early for any evidence linking the Australian experience of the new CPD requirements to better patient outcomes, given these requirements have only been recently introduced.”

She maintained that the evidence provided by the board in its Professional Performance Framework update in 2017 had gone a long way to anchoring the new CPD framework in logic.

Professor Tonkin also said that GPs were the main professional group to raise concerns about the CPD changes.

“Broadly, non-GP specialists have not raised concerns about hours required, CPD plans or about the range of CPD activities we’ve introduced,” she said.

“If there is something identified that is intrinsic to general practice and is not shared by other specialties, that is misaligned with the board’s CPD requirements, we will respond accordingly.”

She also added that the board had been monitoring feedback and would refine CPD requirements “in response to a compelling case”.

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