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Continuing professional development (CPD) for doctors: there is no limit to perfection

What will change?
The principle of continuous training of doctors is a common practice in the developed countries of Europe, America and Asia, in particular in the UK, USA, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Singapore and others. For Ukrainian doctors, such a component will begin to operate in 2019.

What changes await medical workers?
For example, previously a Ukrainian doctor had to undergo mandatory monthly courses before certification, which is carried out every five years – while three years after certification were actually a time of “rest” from professional improvement.

The current CPD system obliges physicians to acquire new knowledge every year. Namely, starting from January 1, 2020, each doctor must score at least 50 CPD points during the year. Points are awarded for various types of training.

At the same time, the Ministry of Health allows doctors to choose the vector of development themselves. They no longer need, as before, to undergo compulsory education in institutions strictly defined by the ministry – three state academies of postgraduate education and 14 faculties of postgraduate education. Doctors have the right to choose where and how to study – in Ukraine or abroad, remotely or permanently, in a public or private educational institution.

“You can study where the doctor sees fit, and study what he needs. A pediatrician will be able to teach neurology, a gynecologist – rheumatology. The state trusts citizens’ health doctors, why not entrust them with the choice of education,” Deputy Minister of Health Alexander Linchevsky explained in the comments to the media.

The Ministry of Health believes that such an approach will allow tailoring training to the needs of specific medical practice in a particular medical institution and will provide unconditional benefits for both doctors and patients.

True, in the future, the Ministry of Health, nevertheless, plans to approve companies that meet certain criteria and will be engaged in the education of physicians. They will be consolidated into a single public registry.

How will NPR points be awarded?
Starting from 2020 and until 2021, a doctor will need to score at least 50 training points per year, after that – 100.

A certain number of points will be awarded to the doctor for each type of training: scientific and practical conferences, congresses, symposiums, distance online courses, simulation trainings, thematic training or seminars, thematic improvement cycles at faculties and in institutions of postgraduate education lasting 1-2 weeks , training or internship at a university or healthcare institution – in Ukraine or abroad, publication of an article or review in a journal with an impact factor.

At the same time, 30 points will be given for speaking at a scientific conference, 20 points for publishing an article, one point for every two hours of online courses, etc. The number of points will double for each type of study if it is taken abroad.

Each year, the doctor will have to add to his portfolio certificates confirming the passage of one or another type of study. Until 2021, the points will be certified by the head physician, and from 2021 – by the Licensing Commission under the Ministry of Health, to which the doctor must annually send his portfolio by March 1.

He submits to the commission: a written application; a copy of the diploma of education, a work book, a certificate of a medical specialist and a certificate of qualification category; certification sheet; personal educational portfolio of CPD results and copies of documents confirming CPD scores are taken into account.

What do doctors think?
The majority of doctors reacted positively to the innovations of the Ministry of Health.

“Continuous professional development, which is now offered to doctors, is more acceptable to me than certification,” says Elena Vlasova, head physician of the Center for Primary Health Care No. 7 in the city of Nikolaev.

As an argument, she gave a personal example.
“Look, all my life, every five years I have been certified: I have the highest category in therapy, healthcare organization and family medicine. For three or four years, I read specialized literature on my own, attended conferences, and only a year before certification took PAC courses. Then she began to write reports on the work done over the three years. These reports were full of statistics: how many patients I received, what was the incidence, mortality, how many patients were vaccinated, etc., ”recalls E. Vlasova.

But all these reports, according to the doctor, did not show how much she really was a professional doctor.

“I handed in reports, I was worried as a student, standing in front of the certification committee, waiting for what questions they would ask me and, of course, I received a category. But all this “professional development” was timed precisely for certification and was necessary in order to confirm the category. After that, there was a lull again for several years, and it depended only on me whether I would study at that time, ”says E. Vlasova.

Continuous professional development, according to her, will stimulate the doctor to constantly improve his professional level.

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