CPD Guidance

The Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK (Edinburgh, Glasgow and London) provides Members, Fellows, and all other registered post-training physicians with an online CPD Diary. This helps you maintain a personal and validated record of your CPD activities on an annual basis.

We also approve events and distance learning modules for CPD purposes. These approved events, including those run by each of the three Colleges, appear on the Federation’s online database which is available through the CPD Diary. Over 20,000 doctors use the CPD Diary and have access to this unique resource of approved CPD activities.


All CPD diary enquiries are now dealt with by Federation at cpd@rcp.ac.uk

CPD scheme guidance

The CPD Diary runs in an annual cycle, from 1 April to 31 March each year. At the end of each CPD year, registrants print or export a PDF of the annual CPD appraisal report certificate detailing their CPD credits, which can be presented at annual appraisal to demonstrate completion of required CPD.

For detailed information about the CPD scheme, including participation, eligibility, how to record CPD activities and the audit of CPD records, please read the Guidelines for CPD Diary document, which includes regulations and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ 10 principles of CPD. A CPD Diary step-by-step user guide is also available, along with a guide for appraisers.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have agreed (in February 2011) that CPD credits awarded by one College are accepted by all.

Quick guide to credits

The annual minimum requirement is 50 CPD credits per year (one CPD credit is awarded for each hour of CPD completed), of which 25 credits must be external, and up to 10 can be personal credits.

Definitions of categories of credits

  • Clinical credits concern any event in which the educational content directly relates to clinical topics.

  • Non-clinical credits concern an education event that is not directly related to clinical issues, eg. management courses, ethical and legal issues, appraisal training

  • External (Category 1) credits are given for events outside the hospital or trust such as attending conferences and study days. These may be regional, national or international meetings. Any external meetings not found by searching the database of approved activities within the CPD Diary should be entered under "Self certified unlisted external meetings".

  • Internal (Category 2) credits are events within or organised by the hospital/trust (place of employment), or provided solely for local clinicians, e.g. hospital grand rounds, journal clubs, clinico-pathological conferences, local evening medical meetings, etc.

  • Personal (Category 3) credits relate to study such as private reading, preparing presentations, researching, etc.

  • Exemption credits may only be claimed in exceptional circumstances when a physician is unable to meet the annual minimum requirements due to illness, maternity leave or long absences from work. These can only be added at the end of a CPD year.

Credit structure for each year

  • A minimum of 25 CPD credits must be external (category 1) CPD credits

  • A maximum of 12 MSc external (category 1) CPD credits can count annually

  • A maximum of 10 approved Distance Learning external (category 1) CPD credits can count annually

  • A maximum of 12 MRCP (UK) or SCE Examining external (category 1) CPD credits can count annually

  • A maximum of 10 personal (category 3) CPD credits can count annually

  • The remainder can be made up of internal (category 2) or external (category 1) CPD credits

  • All non-approved distance learning will be added as self-approved personal (category 3) CPD credits

The minimum requirement for physicians who are part-time or retired and still practising medicine is the same.