Ongoing professional development is not only a key requirement of the HPCSA licensure but also enables practitioners to grow their skills and ability to serve the well-being of patients and their professions.
The concept of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), has been around in some form for centuries; it is essentially about learning to earn or maintain a professional’s credentials. This ongoing learning can take many forms, from academic degrees to formal course work, conferences to opportunities within the practice. CPD has been described as intensive and collaborative; ideally, it includes an evaluative stage. The various types of professional development range from consultation, coaching and communities of practice to study lessons, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance. It is thus a process during which a healthcare professional maintains and continuously improves the standards of healthcare practice through the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour that will not only add measurable benefits to the professional practice of medicine but also enhance and promote professional integrity. CPD is not just for the benefit of the practitioner; it assures the public that their healthcare practitioner is both qualified and up to date with new developments. It is crucial, then, for all healthcare professionals registered in South Africa to comply with the set standard of CPD activities each year, including those of ethics, human rights and medical law.
The HPCSA made CPD compulsory for all professionals registered with Council. Every healthcare professional is required to maintain an official HPCSA Individual CPD Activity Record. This comprises the individual’s CPD Portfolio, supported by documentary evidence, such as certificates of attendance. In terms of the Health Professions Act (Act No. 56 of 1974), healthcare professionals are obliged to attend CPD activities. Professionals who do not comply with CPD requirements may be suspended from the register whereafter the same restoration requirements as for non-payment of the annual fees will apply.
MAINTAINING YOUR LICENCE
In the best interests of patients and to ensure their well-being, practitioners are required to have a HPCSA licence to practice their professions. Maintenance of licensure helps assure the public that healthcare practitioners remain knowledgable of trends and best practices; improves the quality of care; detects under-performance, and ensures professional accountability and responsibility.
Licensure requires proof from practitioners they are compliant with the requirements set by Professional Boards and the HPCSA so that they can to continue to practise. It also allows the HPCSA to maintain jurisdiction over practitioners. The generic domains in which practitioners should be compliant include:
The identified requirements for licensure for practitioners are to determine an individual’s own learning needs; to devise a customized CPD programme that meets learning needs of the individual to improve their own practice, and to implement learning programmes.
There are two sets of requirements: annual or every five years. This would be Board-specific.
Mandatory random audits are conducted 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 to comply. After this period of six months, a practitioner will again be audited and if there is still non-compliance, the Professional Board will consider appropriate action. Practitioners are required to submit their CPD portfolios only 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.