Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Started mandatory CPD in 2005, after revision in 2010 a new framework was implemented in 2013

Barbara Moore

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

New Zealand

3,351 registered pharmacists; Pharmacists are required to self-assess against the Council Competence Standards once every three years, and must now accumulate points based on the hours of learning completed, instead of demonstrating outcome credits; Mandatory CPD since 2005; Accreditation body: Pharmacy Council.

Full project description: 

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


  • As of 30 June 2013, New Zealand has 3,351 pharmacists on the practicing register, all of whom must undertake mandatory continuing professional development (CPD).
  • In 2005, the Pharmacy Council endorsed a framework for re-certification that was based on the four steps (Reflection, Planning, Action, Outcomes) of the CPD model.
  • In 2010, the Council convened a working party to review the framework and make recommendations for change.
  • Pharmacists are required to self-assess against the Council competence standards once every three years, and must now accumulate points based on the hours of learning completed, instead of demonstrating outcome credits.
  • Participation is measured in points across three groups of learning activities.
  • Pharmacists must complete a minimum of 20 points annually and 70 points in three years, which includes a minimum of 10 points from Group 3 (significant learning goal).
  • Peer group activities are encouraged. A learning peer is a pharmacist colleague who confirms that the learning has occurred and provides feedback on the learning activities, including feedback on each step of the learning goals in Group 3. 

Current drivers

Council standards for conduct, ethics and performance require all pharmacy professionals to maintain and improve the quality of their practice. This is accomplished by keeping work related knowledge and skills up-to-date.

CPD has been a mandatory requirement in New Zealand since 2005, therefore, New Zealand would be considered a ‘maturing’ country with respect to CPD/CE. Although the Council audit processes indicate a high level of engagement and competence, not all pharmacists have engaged with the framework or requirements wholeheartedly. The Reflection step in the CPD cycle is difficult for some pharmacists to understand and it is unclear how well this step is being done across the profession.

Challenges faced in the implementation

  • Ensuring pharmacists engage with the CPD cycle that includes reflection on their practice;
  • Changing the focus of CPD to meaningful learning rather than collecting CE points;
  • Minimising cost constraints for pharmacists to undertake formal CPD programmes;
  • Making the recording or documentation of learning less onerous;
  • Identifying those pharmacists who require additional mentoring or guidance to steer away from the point-collecting mentality;
  • Ensuring relevant support for pharmacists in non-traditional roles.

Lessons learned

The new framework is very new (implemented in April 2013) so New Zealand is still very much in the beginning phase.  Lessons learned at this early stage are:

  • Re-certification requirements mandated in legislation [1] means all pharmacists must participate;
  • CPD programme providers must have strategies in place to engage pharmacists in professional development;
  • Ensuring CPD providers have a robust on-line system for pharmacists to maintain their individual records;
  • Pharmacists must be offered an opportunity to evaluate the quality of the programme;
  • Providers must have IT systems in place for the purpose of monitoring the participation of individual pharmacists. Providers must also be able to produce summary reports on the participation of all pharmacists enrolled in the programme.

Key tools

The Pharmacy Council does not provide CPD; instead Council accredits CPD providers. The points below represent Council activities at each stage.

  1. Reflect – assessment of the 2005 CPD framework to determine if change was required to improve engagement by the profession, and what that change was.
  2. Plan – a Council-appointed working group developed a new recertification framework.
  3. Act – an expression of interest (EOI) process was undertaken inviting organisations to register their interest in developing and delivering recertification programmes that meet the framework.
  4. Evaluate – on-going monitoring of the programme providers will be done against Council requirements.

This case study relates to:

Case study addresses: