Free article: The GDC enhanced CPD scheme

Published: Monday, 11 September 2017
Written by  // Articles//
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Shilla Talati looks at the changes to GDC CPD requirements from January 2018.


  • Your CPD cycles are fixed in law. Your cycle will carry on running whether or not you are on the register.
  • Under the current system:
    • if you are a dentist you must do a minimum of 75 hours verifiable CPD in your CPD cycle
    • if you are a dental care professional you must do a minimum of 50 hours verifiable CPD in your CPD cycle. 
  • Under the new enhanced CPD scheme:
    • the CPD must be verifiable only, educational and with clear outcomes, with participant feedback
    • you will need to do CPD regularly and at least 10 hours every 2 years- each CPD activity will need to meet at least one of the GDC’s learning outcome.


The General Dental Council (GDC) have announced that they will be changing the way they require all GDC registrants to undertake their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This will take place in January 2018 for dentists and August 2018 for dental care professionals. 

What is CPD?

CPD for dental professionals is defined in law as lectures, seminars, courses, individual study and other activities that can be included in your CPD record if: 

  • it can be reasonably expected to advance your professional development as a dentist or dental care professional 
  • and is relevant to your practice or intended practice.

Examples of types of CPD may include:

  • courses and lectures
  • training days
  • peer review
  • clinical audits
  • reading journals
  • attending conferences
  • e-learning activity.

Current system

At present if you are a dentist then you are required to carry out out at least 250 hours of CPD every five years. At least 75 of these hours need to be verifiable CPD. Dental care professionals must carry out at least 150 hours of CPD every five years. At least 50 of these hours need to be verifiable CPD.

Verifiable CPD is the activity that meets the GDC’s definition of CPD and for which there is documentary evidence that you have undertaken the CPD and that the CPD has:

  • concise educational aims and objectives
  • clear anticipated outcomes
  • quality controls.

New enhanced CPD

What are the main changes? 

The main changes involved will be as follows: 

  • An increase in the number of verifiable hours and the requirement to spread the hours more evenly across the five-year cycle.
  • The reduction of CPD hours overall for all dental professionals, due to the removal of non-verifiable CPD. 
  • The need to make a mandatory annual declaration of the CPD hours you have done and that you are meeting the requirements.
  • The requirement to have a personal development plan. 

The new hours required will be as follows. 

 GDC registrant Required CPD hours under the new Enhanced CPD scheme per five year cycle
Dentists 100
Dental therapists 75
Dental hygienists 75
Orthodontic therapists 75
Clinical dental technicians 75
Dental nurses 50
Dental technicians 50













When will the changes come into affect? 

All dentists will move to the new scheme on 1 January 2018 and all dental care professionals on 1 August 2018. There will be transitional arrangements for those who are mid-cycle on these dates and those registrants will have to complete some CPD based on the current scheme and some on the new scheme. 

The personal development plan

This is a plan that will help to decide which areas or courses you need to do, in order to help you develop yourself as a professional. It will be created at the start of your cycle and will change throughout the cycle, depending on your personal learning and development needs. This will need to be assessed in accordance with the GDC’s standards and the professional’s scope of practice. It can be done individually or in conjunction with peers or colleagues, the employer/commissioner (such as through an appraisal), or the wider dental team. It may also be informed by, for example, other information derived from patient feedback, complaints, audit, significant event analysis and peer review processes, or dental practice evaluations. A record of this development plan will need to be made at the beginning of each five year cycle, which will probably change to meet the changes in your needs. 

Keeping records of your CPD

As you are currently doing, you will still need to keep a record of all your CPD except from the new scheme, it will only be verifiable CPD. The CPD chosen should also show a reflection on its impact by considering how it has or will enable you to maintain and develop your skills. It would enable you to evaluate how your CPD contributes to supporting you to practise in accordance with the GDC’s standards and how it has contributed positively to the wider context of patient care.

The record should also contain a log of completed activity, including date, number of hours and which learning outcome it covered and evidence that you have done the activity e.g a certificate. 
At present the GDC has no compulsory subjects that need to be completed (although there are recommended subjects) so you should use your own professional judgement. However, there are four learning outcomes at present which should be mapped against each activity. These are: 

  1. Effective communication with patients, the dental team, and others across dentistry, including when obtaining consent, dealing with complaints, and raising concerns when patients are at risk.
  2. Effective management of self, and effective management of others or effective work with others in the dental team, in the interests of patients at all times; providing constructive leadership where appropriate.
  3. Maintenance and development of knowledge and skill within your field of practice.
  4. Maintenance of skills, behaviours and attitudes which maintain patient confidence in you and the dental profession and put patients' interests first.


The transition will take place from 2018. This will, of course, depend on when your five year cycle starts and ends. The GDC have produced a ‘transition tool’ which is available on their website, which provides you with information about the requirements over the transition period. 

In 2018 the online eGDC will be updated and will provide a calculation for your personal requirements, taking into account how far through your cycle you are and the hours you have submitted up-to-date. This calculation will be available for every registrant when they log into eGDC in early 2018. 

Further information


Use the following item in the Toolkit to put the ideas in the article into practice:

About the author

Shilla TalatiDr Shilla Talati BDS graduated from Guys Hospital in 1999 and has been in general/private practice ever since. She was a partner MD of Dental Perfection in Coventry for several years, where she had a special interest in the management side of her dental practice. She has run several courses for the GDP in general practice and is now involved in practice management issues, including staff training, compliance monitoring, and staff motivation. To contact Shilla on any of these aspects in general practice, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • ExtraInformationOnline: No

Most frequently read