Continuing professional development (CPD) myth-busting: helping DCPs navigate their CPD requirements

Written by Fiona Ellwood, Miranda Steeples, Debbie Hemington, James Neilson, Donna Campbell, and Bill Ip from the Dental Professional Alliance

Removal from the register is the last thing any dental professional wants to discover, especially if it relates to a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the CPD rules, or a simple mistake. As members of the DPA, we are keen to foster a myth-busting approach in the hope that all membership groups will benefit from this, and that other key stakeholders will adopt a similar approach. 

Year after year, we find that some registrants are removed from the register unnecessarily, causing inconvenience, stress and anxiety. Those who are removed are unable to continue with patient-facing care or treatments until they are restored. This can disrupt the provision of dental services and inevitably, patient outcomes. Given the ongoing challenges of both recruitment to the profession and the constant reminders of a lack of access to some aspects of dentistry, addressing any CPD issues must be a priority to help make sure dental professionals who want to stay on the register can do so.

Why the myth-buster?

The DPA acknowledges that many of the challenges within the current CPD system are defined by the changes that came into effect on 1 January 2018. To support DCPs in making their statements, we have been exploring what can be done, rather than what cannot be done. One of the shorter-term solutions was to compile a myth-buster.

This has been put together using some of the challenges expressed by the membership groups within the DPA. These are as follows:


The myth-buster is a stark reminder that sometimes a lack of understanding or misinterpretation can catch you out. Not having a full understanding of CPD provider guidelines can present some challenges too but, more than anything, life events can sometimes throw registrants a curve ball, no matter where you are in your CPD journey.

There is a chance, no matter how slight, that this could lead to any one of us being removed from the register. We hope that this myth-buster can become a mechanism that registrants will fall back on, in the hope that unnecessary removals from the register become a thing of the past.

Myth-busting spotlight on grace periods: not the silver bullet, but still important

Many registrants are unaware of the grace period and what this means for them. This, of course, can only be granted by an application to the GDC and no earlier than six months before the end of your CPD cycle (1 February of the fifth year). This application will need to be accompanied by an explanation, covering details such as exceptional circumstances. If the grace period is granted, you will be given an additional 56 days (eight weeks) to complete your CPD hours. It is important to remember this is only available to registrants in the last year of their cycle.