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New CPD guidance is welcome in light of budget cuts, RCN says

Five principles aim to ‘develop knowledge, skills and competencies’ of staff 

Five principles aim to ‘develop knowledge, skills and competencies’ of staff 


CPD can encourage lifelong learning among staff. Picture: iStock

A set of principles explaining what staff and employers should expect from continuing professional development (CPD) has been published today.

The guidance aims to support healthcare staff, employers and organisations to create ‘a culture of continuous improvement and workforce development’ and improve outcomes for patients. 

Outline of advice

The five principles state that CPD and lifelong learning should:

  • Be each person’s responsibility and be made possible and supported by their employer
  • Benefit service users
  • Improve the quality of service delivery
  • Be balanced and relevant to each person’s area of practice or employment
  • Be recorded and show the effect on each person’s area of practice

The publication of the guidance – developed by the Interprofessional CPD and Lifelong Learning UK Working Group, which includes the RCN – comes after the college’s recent warning that pressures on funding and staffing mean nurses have no time for CPD at work.

Vital initiative

RCN professional lead for education Gill Coverdale said: ‘These principles come at an important time, as CPD budgets have been cut by 60% in the past two years.

‘As demand for healthcare rises and patient needs change, it is vital the government invests in developing our healthcare workforce to meet the challenges of the future.

    ‘By setting out what staff and employers should expect, these principles will help develop the knowledge, skills and competencies that lead to an effective workforce prepared to deliver high-quality care.’

    Request for feedback

    Interprofessional CPD and Lifelong Learning UK Working Group chair Will Broughton, who is also director of professional standards at the College of Paramedics, said the impact of the principles would be evaluated next year, ahead of a review in January 2021.

    ‘We welcome feedback from people working across the health and social care workforce, which will contribute to further versions of this document,’ he said.

    The working group includes the Royal College of Midwives, Unison and Unite, as well as other unions and professional bodies.


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