CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is the continuing education and training referred to in Section 26 of the Health Professions Act, 1974 (Act No. 56 of 1974).

The HPSCSA (Health Professionals Council of South Africa), as per this Act, endorses CPD as the means for maintaining and updating professional competence, to ensure that the public interest is always promoted and protected, as well as ensuring the best possible health care service to the community.

To this end, the HPCSA has implemented a Continuing Professional Development programme which requires healthcare practitioners to earn a certain number of CEUs / CPD Points each year by engaging in activities that develop their skills and knowledge.

CEUs (Continuing Education Units) or CPD Points, are the value attached to a learning activity for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Every healthcare practitioner in South Africa is required to accumulate 30 CEUs / CPD Points per twelve-month period, five of which must be on ethics, human rights and medical law.

Each CEU / CPD Point is valid for 24 months from the date on which the activity took place (or ended, in the event of post-graduate studies) after which that CEU will no longer be valid.

This means that practitioners should aim to accumulate a balance of 60 CEUs / CPD Points by the end of their second year of practise, and thereafter top-up the balance through additional CPD as each 24-month validity period expires.

The CPD system is based on trust. The HPCSA believes that health practitioners will commit themselves to meeting the requirements for continuing education in the belief that the practitioner and patient / client will reap the benefits of lifelong learning.

The HPCSA does, however, conduct mandatory random audits to ensure compliance. Once a practitioner’s name has been selected, they are required to submit a CPD portfolio to Council within 21 days.

Non-compliant practitioners will be given six months in order to comply. After the period of 6 months a practitioner will again be audited and if there is still non-compliance, the Professional Board will consider appropriate action.

Practitioners are only required to submit their CPD portfolios when their names are drawn from a random sample audit and when requested to submit their completed form CPD 1 IAR with accompanying proof of CPD activities undertaken.

Visit the Healthcare Professional Council of South Africa website at www.hpcsa.co.za

Go to the “Take a Test” section on CPD Centre and click on the test you’d like to take. This will take you to a “Test Preparation” page, on which you will be given a summary of a clinical trial or peer-reviewed article as well as access to the full version.

Once you’d studied this material, click on the “Take Test” button. This will take you to a HPCSA accredited multiple choice questionnaire (MSQ). Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, click “Submit Test.”

As per HPCSA CPD guidelines, a test score of 70% is required for the award of MCQ based points. Depending on the Test and your score, you can earn between 1 and 3 CEUs / CPD Points per completed Test.

Login to your account on CPD Centre and go to your Home page. Here you will find a tab to “Download Your CPD Certificates.” This is will take you to a page where all your Certificates of Completion are available for download.

If and when you are audited for CPD compliance by the HCPSA, include these certificates in the CPD portfolio you submit to Council.