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Launch of Continuing Professional Development Framework

From 1 June 2013, all pharmacists will have a legal obligation to undertake and record Continuing Professional Development activity (CPD) in order to maintain registration as a pharmacy professional in Northern Ireland. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the process used to maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills related to a professional’s role, in our case the role of a pharmacist.  

The new CPD framework (click here to read CPD Framework and Standards – May 2013 )launched today 20 May 2013, outlines the requirements that must be met by pharmacists in order to meet the CPD standards.  This includes information about:

  • The amount and type of information to be recorded as CPD
  • How a CPD portfolio record will be called for assessment
  • The records kept by the Pharmaceutical Society of registrants’ CPD
  • The criteria that we use to evaluate whether or not the CPD requirements have been met
  • The application process for extenuating circumstances
  • The CPD requirements for registrants returning to practice
  • The CPD requirements for visiting pharmacists
  • What constitutes CPD non-compliance

The most significant changes that will apply to the CPD process from 1 June 2013, as a result of the new CPD framework are:

  • From 1 June 2013, CPD will become a statutory legal requirement for all registrants of the Pharmaceutical Society NI.  All registrants must submit their portfolios in June 2014; of which a minimum of 10% of portfolio records will be selected for formal assessment.


  • Registrants will be given the option to record how they have applied their learning in practice or describe how they will apply their learning in future


  • Non-compliance with the CPD framework may result in a pharmacist’s removal from the register.

Commenting on the new CPD framework and standards, President of the Pharmaceutical Society NI, Jacqui Dougan said;

‘CPD is core to the professional role of a pharmacist. Since 2005, all pharmacists registered with the Pharmaceutical Society NI have committed to their educational development and particpated in CPD.  As an organisation we recognise the high level of compliance by pharmacists to CPD and this is underpinned by a high pass rate.

Bolstered by this professional commitment, we now welcome the transition to annual submission and assessment of CPD portfolios from 1 June 2013. As the healthcare landscape evolves in Northern Ireland, pharmacists, like other fellow healthcare professionals will require a focus on their continual development needs to ensure the appropriateness of knowledge, skills and competency. A commitment to such lifelong learning sends a clear and positive message to governement, policy makers and ultimately the general public.

The new CPD framework sets out the requirements from 1 June 2013 and I

would like to thank those who took part in the consultation. We received a wide range of constructive comments and suggestions, and these have been taken into account in producing the final CPD framework and standards.

 ‘As this next year progresses, I am confident that we can build on this success, ensuring the safest and best service for those we serve, the public.’

 Garry McKenna, vice president and lay member of the council

“As a lay member of Council I have been greatly impressed with the professionalism and commitment of Pharmacists.  I understand that, over the past seven years, pharmacists have evidenced their professional development through the current CPD process and I believe this new Framework can only enhance the confidence, we the public have in pharmacy and pharmacists”

“The 100% submission of all portfolios provides confidence and assurance to us as patients and service users but it also underlines how we as a regulator take our role seriously in terms of providing public protection.”


Brendan Kerr, Registrar added:

 “This framework is the culmination of a process which evolved over the last seven years therefore the majority of the process requirements are already well established.  Previously registrants have participated in annually submitting their portfolios with high levels of quality and compliance evidenced.  The simple message is, keep maintaining your CPD”.

Post consultation the published framework transparently provides the structure and process to compliment the statutory legislation.  All registrants must familiarise themselves with their individual responsibilities, plan their learning and ultimately for their CPD submission next year, relating to 2013-14.  Registrants should note that by 1st June 2014, all registrants will be required to submit their portfolio records to the Pharmaceutical Society NI.

‘‘In June and September we will be running a series of information evenings to supplement the published framework document.  Registrants are invited to attend these events and further information will be released shortly regarding the dates, the venues, and how to sign up.’


In the consultation we sought views on remediation, appeals, removal and restoration to practise. We will return to these issues once the outcome of the Department’s consultation on the proposed new CPD regulations has been published.



For further information please contact Mark Neale at the Pharmaceutical Society NI on 028 9026 7933 or


Notes to editors

  1. The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland is the regulatory body for pharmacists in Northern Ireland. Our primary purpose is to ensure practicing pharmacists in Northern Ireland are fit to practise, keep their skills and knowledge up to date and deliver high quality safe care to patients.
  2. The CPD framework and Standards are available on the Pharmaceutical Society NI website
  3. The Pharmaceutical Society NI produced a new CPD framework and standards for consultation, which was held for 14 weeks from 1 November 2012 and closed on     7 February 2013.  A report summarising the responses to the consultation on the CPD framework and standards is available here CPD Post Consultation Summary Report 2013
  4. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a term used to describe activities undertaken to maintain, enhance and develop existing knowledge and skills following the completion of a professional qualification. It helps maintain standards of practice and thereby helps to maintain and improve the quality of care to patients and the public.
  5. From 1st October 2012, new legislation in the form of the Pharmacy (NI) Order 1976 (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012 and associated regulations comes into operation, bringing additional fitness to practise sanctions, a new Council made up of 50% lay and 50% registrant membership.
  6. Since January 2005, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has been a professional requirement of registration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. From 1 June 2013, with the enactment of new legislation (‘The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Continuing Professional Development) Regulations 2012’) CPD will become a statutory legal requirement of registration.
  7. The DHSSPS consultation on proposed amendments to the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (Continuing Professional Development) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 closed on 22 February 2013.  The proposed amendments relate to a provision for a registered person to request a hearing upon receipt of the registrar’s Notice of Intention to remove their name from the register for non-compliance with the Continuing Professional Development framework.
  8. The following components of framework:  appeals, removal and restoration to practise will be addressed at a later stage following the outcome of the DHSSPS consultation and when the disjoint with the legislation is clarified (Pharmacy Order and regulations).