The new Continuing Professional Development scheme for osteopaths

What is it and how can the University College of Osteopathy support and help you to comply?

All osteopaths are now subject to new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) regulations that came into force on 1 October 2018. All CPD periods commencing after this date will be in the new format that requires osteopaths to complete 90 hours of CPD over a 3-year period. The first osteopaths to start their new CPD scheme are those whose current CPD year ends in December 2018, and by Autumn 2019 all osteopaths will be part of the new CPD scheme. Also it is important to remember that whilst you may not be on the new scheme, yet it is still a requirement of your current CPD year to complete 30 hours of CPD of which 15 hours should be learning with others.

The new CPD scheme encompasses five main features:

  1. Breadth of practice and the 4 Osteopathic Practice Standards
  2. An objective activity
  3. Communications and Consent
  4. Keeping a record
  5. Peer Discussion and Review

1. Breadth of practice and the 4 Osteopathic Practice Standards

When considering the updated Osteopathic Practice Standards (OPS) CPD undertaken over the 3-year period should encompass each of the four themes:

A Communication and patient partnership

B Knowledge, skills and performance

C Safety and quality in practice

D Professionalism

Key to the process of ensuring CPD is completed properly and on a timely basis is planning your CPD activities. It goes without saying, it is easier to spread that 90 hours across the 3 years rather than leaving it all until the last minute.

The UCO is committed to providing quality, evidence-based CPD courses to meet your CPD requirements. We are currently mapping our courses to the updated Osteopathic Practice Standards so that you will be able to see at a glance which of the standards are covered in each of our courses. At the end of our courses we provide you with a form to reflect on the course you have just attended and the OPS covered in it. Of the 90 hours CPD completed over the 3-year period it is also a requirement that a minimum of 45 hours of these are learning with others. Planning these hours around attending our CPD courses makes this requirement the easy bit!

2. An objective activity – quality of care

The purpose of the objective activity is that it is something that will inform your practice to improve the quality of care for your patients. Suggested activities are:

  • Peer observation within your practice
  • Patient feedback such as the PROMs scheme
  • Clinical audit
  • Case based discussions

Having performed your objective activity you need to perform a reflective review to demonstrate what you have learned from the activity and how this is going to influence your practice whether it is examination, note taking, exercise prescription, communicating with patients or complying with the various OPS etc.

At the UCO we are developing new ways to help you complete your objective activity. The innovations include group case-based discussions facilitated by one of our experienced osteopathic clinic tutors. Discussion and reflection will be based around the 4 themes of OPS giving you an opportunity to share your thoughts on the case discussed and gain insight from peers.

3. Communication and Consent

The requirement to undertake a piece of CPD focused on Communication and Consent is also easily covered by several of our courses. Courses such as Cervical Spine Risk Assessment and Consent for Manual Therapists covers many of the topics related to communication and consent as well as our specific Communication and Consent course which looks at the requirements for specific patient groups. We are also planning further focussed communication and consent courses. To keep up-to-date with our developments, please join our mailing list.

4. Keeping a Record of CPD activities

We are trying to make this easy for you too, well at least for the courses you attend here! We are busy mapping our courses to the updated OPS and the new CPD requirements so that you know which elements of the new OPS will be covered before you attend. When you attend one of our courses you will be given a reflection form for you to complete following the course.

5. Peer Review

The Peer Review discussion is something that is undertaken at some point during the 3rd year of your CPD cycle with the aim of ensuring you have covered all of the CPD requirements adequately. The Peer should be another osteopath or health professional that you feel comfortable discussing your osteopathic professional practice with. At UCO we have many experience osteopaths on staff and are working on putting together a database of staff members who will be happy to act as Peers for the review process should any osteopath have concerns or difficulties choosing a suitable peer.

We are always looking to further develop our CPD offer to make it easy and stress free for osteopaths to meet their CPD requirements. All of the courses currently on offer at UCO can be found on our website under the heading CPD courses and conferences and this list is constantly being updated. We are interested in hearing from osteopaths with suggestions of courses that they would like to see offered and feedback on courses attended. You can share your ideas with me by email to

About the author: Julie Boyd is the University College of Osteopathy’s CPD Development Co-ordinator.

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