Why is CPD important in the NHS?

CPD isn’t just important for career progression – it improves quality of patient care.

Why is CPD important in the NHS?

doctor inspecting an x-ray on a phone

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is vital for all NHS staff.

It's actually written into the NHS Constitution that trusts must invest in the skills and development of all their full- and part-time employees. But CPD isn't just important for career progression, it improves quality of care by ensuring all staff have the skills they need to treat patients. It also keeps staff up to date with their relevant regulatory body.

CPD is good news for everyone. All NHS staff complete annual development reviews and create personal development plans, giving them the opportunity to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, or progress into a new specialism.

All nurses and midwives must complete a minimum of 35 hours of CPD to comply with the NMC – while all doctors must complete CPD to maintain their registration.

Find out how to record compliant CPD with OneFile. 

But what counts as CPD?

From elearning to attending conferences – there are loads of different ways you can rack up your CPD activities. Some will vary according to medical specialism, so we've chosen our top 5 activities that are suitable for everyone:

Training programmes

There are loads of learning opportunities available for everyone in the NHS. Staff can complete study days, workplace training, or even degree apprenticeships – any training that furthers development and improves patient care is welcome!

Appraisals, reviews & discussions

Professional discussions help staff reflect on their learning and set targets for their future development. These interactions can be formal or informal – from conversations on the ward to annual appraisals. They can be recorded in a number of ways too – either written on paper or recorded electronically and uploaded to a CPD platform


There's a wide range of healthcare conferences available across the country. They help staff stay up to date with specialist developments, share knowledge, and network with colleagues and peers. Recording what learning has taken place at a conference can be a little tricky – find out how to keep your CPD records compliant here.


Elearning is a good way to learn on the go. With the right elearning tools, staff can access interactive content and quizzes so they can complete a range of learning wherever they are. Elearning can be tracked online, so it's easy to record in a compliant way. 

Informal learning

This can take many forms, such a reading a book, observing colleagues or attending meetings. These activities can also be a little more difficult to track, so it's important you keep your records compliant.

Now you know what CPD activities are available in the NHS, you know need to record them properly. Without compliant tracking and recording, CPD evidence may not be valid, which could impact the status of your staff and trust.

To make sure you record compliant CPD activities, read our free download: Recording CPD: a guide for health workers.

Download guide

This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.