Monday, 11 July 2011

Doctors4Justice wins campaign to improve CPD for barristers by Dr Helen Bright

Last year Doctors4Justice campaigned for improved training for lawyers (Continuous Professional Development=CPD).

Now we are pleased to see that the number of required hours of CPD have been doubled. Please, click on the photo to read more in Guardian article by Alex Aldridge.

Lawyers are still behind doctors a great deal in how they organize themselves and record their learning process. And UK doctors are behind US, in my opinion.

It could be a good idea to join forces to improve the matters for both professions. Medical profession in UK is damaged by ignorance of competition law and Equality Law 2010. I think there is abuse of monopoly position by some medical Royal Colleges. What I mean by that is that doctors are damaged by requirements to limit Internet learning to only ten hours a year so that colleges could make money from their annual conferences. This is so silly in modern age when professionals in most cases can do both. Internet learning is revolutionary, great for those who travel a lot, part timers, professionals who are also carers (children and elderly), ill professionals on sick leave, suspended professionals, those on sabbatical leave and so on.

Learning can be such a pleasure if well organized and doctors are very good at that: nice international conferences in beautiful places abroad have special appeal. While it can cost several thousands of pounds it is worth it. Meeting friendly professionals from different parts of the world and enjoying good entertainment after a day at the seminars and workshops is fun. The nice choice of good vines and excellent food in intelligent company every evening springs to memory - who could ask for more?

When on a low budget Internet is great and sufficient for keeping up to date. Professionals must not be penalized for being IT competent and medical colleges have to keep up with academic competition on Internet. The aim of CPD is learning and not conformity in itself to a prescribed method.

One way to ensure some learning takes place, at least for a period of time, is to perform testing at the end of a topic(s) presented on Internet, for example, on Bar Standards Board website. Lawyers should be allowed immediate retakes of tests (automatic) on Internet until they get the answers right and pass to get a Certificate. This penalty free learning would achieve the aim of meeting core standards as set by the governing body. Yearly check in this format would be fair.

Personal requirements dependent on the area in which lawyers specialize would be additional to core standards being met and recognized by Bar Standards Board. Doctors certainly do have that recognized in their CPD which is linked to Personal Development Plan.

Therefore. flexibility combined with rigidity is the way to do it. Flexibility for specialism and creativity (writing, research, lecturing should count too) and rigidity of testing of the core skills by regulator (allowing automatic retakes until 100% pass rate is achieved) is what I think would be fair.


Dr Rita Pal's New Book

Dr Rita Pal's New Book
North Staffordshire Whistleblower Click on photo to read

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