One of the benefits of being salaried in a general medical services practice is allocated pro-rata CPD (continuing professional development) time as per the BMA model salaried contract.
While this can be challenging to access at times, salaried GPs must define such an allocation before taking up the role. If you are salaried, do engage with your employer about the allocated CPD.
One way of smoothly moving forwards is finding an area that you are interested in and wish to develop which matches the practice needs. This is not a requirement of the model contract, but it may make access more practical.
On a personal level, while salaried I had negotiated allocated CPD time as per my contract which reflected the standard BMA model contract. Instead of patients, I had an allocated time slot each week which was ringfenced to improve my skills and knowledge.
I had an interest in diabetes and wanted to expand my knowledge to injectables and there was a practice need for insulin initiation and titration. Therefore, I set up a regular diabetic clinic with an in-house diabetic nurse consultant conducting a joint surgery and providing supervision. I would search for eligible patients beforehand and with time patients understood that the clinic was there to concentrate on their diabetes.
I also had an interest in minor surgery and the senior partner had a regular minor ops clinic. I had completed the Royal College of GPs minor ops course and DOPS assessment and so just needed to apply the knowledge.
Therefore, in my CPD session, I would initially observe and then perform the operations under supervision in a regular clinic. I completed enough operations of a good range successfully that my supervisor agreed to sign me off to be accredited for NHSE Minor surgery DES Level 2. This provided all-around benefits for patients, the practice and me.
Other uses of my allocated CPD time included mandatory training such as child and adult safeguarding, and the practice would organise BLS. This created a win-win situation as I could improve my skills and the practice could offer more services to patients. It also ensured I had completed all mandatory training in good time, and it was not a hectic rush before the appraisal.
As a locum, there is more onus on you to source CPD. However, gone are the days of paying for courses. Training hubs are responsible for training and locally our hub funds courses for all GPs in the borough including well-known courses such as Red whale GP update and Hot Topics.
It is really important locums are on local federation/clinical commissioning group mailing lists to access training. Locally, the Clarity team net is provided by the federation for all GPs in the area which is a good resource for mandatory training. The RCGP and local medical committee also offer a variety of training and some of which are funded for members.
Please do access and make the most out of CPD time. An onerous regimen can easily be turned into something enjoyable and beneficial for you, your practice, and your patients, as 50 hours CPD is no longer an absolute for appraisal.
Venothan Suri is a sessional GPs committee executive member