By maintaining skills and keeping dentists up-to-date, continuing professional development (CPD) supports safe clinical practice. However, CPD for dentists across Europe is not harmonised.
One aim of the ‘DentCPD’ project (www.dentcpd.org) was to identify and agree essential CPD requirements for EU dentists. As part of the process, data were collected on existing approaches to CPD for EU dentists. This paper reports those findings.
Informed by a review of the literature and internet search, the CPD for Graduate Dentists questionnaire gathered data from dental educators on CPD systems, requirements, provision and accreditation in Europe. It sought opinion on mandatory CPD and e-learning.
Responses were received from 143 individuals from 30 EU countries. About half the countries had a compulsory CPD system which typically included mandatory core topics. Elsewhere CPD was optional or based on recommended hours. University dental schools and professional dental associations were the most common CPD providers. National regulatory bodies were the most common accrediting body. Only 41% of respondents thought they knew the criteria for successful accreditation of CPD. Eighty-one percent agreed that ‘CPD should be obligatory for all dentists’.
These results present an overview of the status of CPD for EU dentists. Despite a notable trend towards regulated CPD systems, current requirements for dentists to engage in CPD show variation. The harmonisation of requirements would enhance both dentist mobility and safe clinical practice.