Continuing Professional Development for Pharmacists

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a continual process of lifelong learning which is focused on implementing learning within professional practice and improving outcomes for patients.

CPD involves maintaining appropriate experience in the practice of pharmacy, keeping up-to-date with continuing education and professional competency and undertaking appropriate development and training opportunities that are relevant to the practice of pharmacy.

The Pharmacy Act 2007 requires that all pharmacists must undertake continuing professional development (CPD). The PSI (Continuing Professional Development) Rules 2015 set out the CPD obligations for pharmacists, including that they must maintain a record of their CPD in an online ePortolio and demonstrate evidence of this to the Irish Institute of Pharmacy (IIOP) on request.

Current CPD system for pharmacists in Ireland

In 2009, the PSI commissioned a detailed review and assessment of international CPD models to inform the system of CPD for pharmacists in Ireland. This framework is a portfolio-based self-reflective model that allows pharmacists to employ a wide range of learning methods to meet their individual learning needs.

Pharmacists are encouraged to adopt a reflective approach to learning, and to identify their own learning and development needs.

The system is not based on a traditional CPD points or accumulation of contact hours. The system is flexible, enabling demonstration of professional development in a style that best suits each individual. A pharmacist's development should encompass a balanced range of activities. This model of CPD is about retaining and building capacity to practise safely, effectively and legally within a pharmacist’s evolving career and scope of practice.

The Irish Institute of Pharmacy (IIOP)

The IIOP was established by the PSI in 2013 to oversee the development and management of the CPD system for pharmacists in Ireland. The IIOP’s aim is to support pharmacists in meeting the requirements of legislation, through the provision of the ePortfolio tool, facilitation of the ePortfolio review process and through additional developmental support as required. The IIOP also accredits a range of courses and programmes for pharmacists wishing to undertake formal training programmes as part of their CPD engagement. Read more about the role and governance of the IIOP.

Review of the CPD Model for Pharmacists 2022/2023

During 2022/2023, we undertook a review of the current CPD model for pharmacists with independent consultancy support. The purpose of the review was to ensure that the model supports future pharmacist practise in all settings, that it is agile, adaptive and sustainable, and that it delivers value for money.

Read more about the review, the recommendations and next steps here.