Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (Zeile 579 von /var/www/vhosts/

Mandatory Continuing Professional Development since 2010 in a credits/points system

Andrew Matthews, National Director, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia,

The following is extracted from International Pharmaceutical Federation – FIP (2014). Continuing Professional Development/Continuing Education in Pharmacy: Global Report. 

Australia: 27,339 registered pharmacists; CPD mandatory since 2010; a common framework for weighting of CPD activities provides guidance for pharmacists and CPD providers; for the CPD year 2013-14, pharmacists must undertake 40 credits of CPD activity; credits/points system; accreditation body: Australian Pharmacy Council.

As professional practice changes and evolves, so too do the competencies of pharmacists and therefore the requirement for on-going CPD. 



Full project description: 

Full project description: To download the FIP Global Report click here 

Current drivers

  • Greater awareness of National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia [5].
  • Use of the competency standards framework to guide professional development, through development of a professional practice profile, and learning plan to guide the selection of relevant CPD activities.
  • Enhanced focus on quality of educational events; accredited activities must comply with new Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) Accreditation Standards for Continuing Professional Development [6].
  • Mandating at least 50% of annual CPD credit requirements must be Group two or Group three activities (described above), to encourage CPD activities that focus on demonstration of knowledge gained. 

Given CPD has become a mandatory requirement of pharmacist registration in Australia since 2010, Australia would be considered a maturing country with regards to the FIP CPD/CE framework. Whilst PBA audit data shows high levels of compliance with annual CPD credit requirements, few Australian pharmacists are assessing their learning and development needs, and planning and implementing a structured learning program. Although pharmacists must record participation in CPD activities and retain these records, it is unclear as to whether pharmacists are evaluating the resulting improvements in their professional practice. 

Challenges faced in the implementation

  • Pharmacists focussing on number of CPD credits offered by a CPD activity rather than considering the relevance of the CPD activity to their practice and as part of a structured learning plan.
  • Education providers releasing large volumes of education activities without focussing on adult learning principles and education quality, e.g., advertising events with claims such as “gain all your annual CPD credits in one weekend!
  • Some providers avoiding CPD accreditation because of the stringent requirements of the Australian Pharmacy Council CPD Accreditation Standards [6] (Pharmacy Board CPD Guidelines [4] do not require all CPD to be accredited).  

Lessons learned

Mandating CPD as a legislative requirement drives compliance (Note: the Health Practitioner Regulation Law [3] mandates CPD for all registered health professions, not just pharmacy).

  • Whilst an annual CPD credit requirement does support pharmacist on-going education, it primarily supports continuing education, and not continuing professional development (the tiered classification system is helpful, but some pharmacists are driven by the number of credits offered by an educational event rather than relevance of the CPD activity to their practice).
  • Some CPD activity providers also appear to be more focussed on providing maximum numbers of CPD credits rather than rigour in the quality of the education. 
  • More work needs to be done to link competency standards, pharmacist learning plans and competency mapping of CPD activities. 

Key tools that helped in each stage

  1. Reflect - National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia [5] and mapping of CPD activities to the competency standards.
  2. Plan - Pharmaceutical Society of Australia personal learning plans and ‘Using standards to guide your CPD’ [7] a reference card to support pharmacists to meet the Pharmacy Board of Australia CPD requirements).
  3. Act - On-line tools to assist pharmacists to record their CPD activities are available.
  4. Evaluate - Australian Pharmacy Council CPD Accreditation Standards [6] define the requirements of CPD providers to deliver quality CPD activities and evaluate their delivery of such activities.

This case study relates to:

Case study addresses: