Changes to CPD Requirements

Every doctor registered to practice medicine in Australia and New Zealand will be impacted when changes are imposed by the Medical Board of Australia and Medical Council of New Zealand. These changes are anticipated to come into effect from 2021. The changes will transform the way you maintain your medical registration by shifting the focus to tailored professional development activities, that aim to enhance patient safety.

Doctors Practicing in Australia

The changes comprise three core components, outlined below;

  • Professional Development: Lead continuous quality improvement through individualised professional development via the introduction of performance and outcomes-based assessments
  • Wellbeing: Support the health, wellbeing and professional practice aspects of medical registration, by driving a positive and supportive culture.
  • Remediation: Steward patient centred medicine by addressing risks associated with individual capabilities such as age, geographical isolation and doctors with multiple complaints.

3 Core Components for CPD

Why is this happening?

In 2016, the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society endorsed a Regulatory Competency Framework, aimed at supporting the delivery of safe and high-quality patient care. In response, the MBA have proposed a range of changes to the current process for maintaining registration by introducing evidenced-based approaches to continuing professional development (CPD), associated with improved patient outcomes and reduced unwarranted clinical variation.

How will the changes impact you?

All doctors will be subject to changes to the Professional Development and Wellbeing categories. However, if you are aged 70 years or older, live in an isolated location, or have multiple substantiated complaints against you, you will be subject to the Remediation category as well.

An outline of the three categories has been provided below and how they are likely to impact you once implemented;

Professional Development

How and what professional development activities you undertake will change under the new requirements. Most RANZCR members participate in conferences, workshops and courses to accumulate CPD points for ongoing registration. However, under the changes there will be a limit to CPD that can be claimed from conferences, workshops and courses, as you will need to include at least 25% (i.e. 12.5 hours) of the minimum 50 hours required per year across each of the three newly created categories, outlined below:

new MBA CPD categories v4


Over recent years, the need to promote the health and wellbeing of doctors has become crucial because of its association with patient outcomes [1]. Whilst doctors are less likely to suffer from chronic medical conditions associated with lifestyle risk factors, there is evidence that indicates a rise in the incidence of mental illness, stress-related problems and substance abuse disorders across the profession.

The MBA has acknowledged the need to promote a positive culture in medicine and assure the wellbeing of doctors. Through the proposed changes, the MBA will foster a positive culture that stewards patient safety, by supporting the health and well-being of doctors. This will include access to a range of resources to provide professional, health and wellbeing support.


Supplementary support will be delivered to doctors with limited capabilities, or with potential limitations to their capabilities for delivering safe and high-quality patient care. This will include doctors in at least one of the following groups:

  1. aged 70 years and older
  2. living in remote or isolated locations or working in professional isolation
  3. three (3) or more substantiated complaints that impact on patient safety against them.

If you fall into one of these categories, you will be required to take part in regular peer reviews. Each peer review will have an ensuing professional development plan, outlining steps to maintain or enhance performance. If you are aged 70 years and older, you will also be required to complete a health assessment, every three-years, to demonstrate mental and physical proficiency.

Doctors Practicing in New Zealand

In New Zealand there are three core requirements for all recertification programmes:

  1. Doctors must complete a mix of activities, as prescribed by the programme provider, across three categories of CPD: a. Reviewing and reflecting on practice. b. Measuring and improving outcomes. c. Educational activities (continuing medical education – CME).

  2. Doctors must have a structured conversation with a peer, colleague or employer (at least annually) to discuss outcome data from activities already undertaken (e.g. CPD, educational activities, or other), the doctor’s personal reflection on their practice, learning aspirations, wellbeing, and their career stage and intentions.

  3. Doctors should use the information gathered from activities and the structured conversation to inform the development and ongoing maintenance of a professional development plan (PDP). Setting and achieving goals in a PDP can guide learning to address identified development needs, achieve educational and career aspirations, consider changes for improving the doctor’s own health and wellbeing, and to plan for their future.

A focus on cultural competence, cultural safety and health equity must be embedded within all of the above activities.


What is the College doing to prepare for the changes?

The College is preparing for the MBA Professional Performance Framework and Medical Council of New Zealand by:

  • Informing members about the changes and progress regarding implementation including a dedicated webpage, with up-to-date information and resources regarding the changes
  • Publishing a list of Frequently Asked Questions, concurrently updated as developments emerge
  • Engaging the respective RANZCR education committees (Continuous Professional Development Committee and Post Fellowship Education Committee) to design and steward transitional plans to streamline implementation
  • Reviewing IT systems to enhance member interface with continuing professional development
  • Ongoing liaison with the MBA and MCNZ to clarify aspects of the changes, implications for RANZCR and advocating RANZCR position on relevant aspects
  • Communicating with the employers of RANZCR members to generate awareness and steward joint approaches to implementation of the changes

More Information

Latest News

Changes to your Ongoing Medical Registration in Australia – Are You Prepared?

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions or comments about the Professional Performance Framework, please contact us here.