Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in healthcare in France

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A continuing professional development (CPD) system has been developed in France to help health professionals maintain, update and enhance their professional practices and skills. It aims to provide the healthcare community with high quality, evidence-based continuing education programs that support the delivery of optimal care for the patients and the achievement of public health objectives.

Today, each of the 1.7 million French health professionals is expected to follow a mandatory three-year personal CPD plan focused on updating knowledge and skills, evaluating professional practices and managing risks. National professional Colleges are in the process of defining CPD "pathways" that will highlight recommendations to maintain knowledge, skills and competence within the specific scope of each profession or specialty.

The CPD system is overseen by a public body, the National Agency for CPD in healthcare (Agence nationale du Développement Professionnel Continu).

Under a regulatory framework, the Agency is in charge of:

  • The registration of the CPD providers (approx. 2.500 organizations),
  • The assessment of the educational and scientific quality of the CPD programs (20.000 programs will be reviewed in 2017 by the Independent Scientific Committees (CSI), composed of health professionals),
  • The promotion of CPD among health professions,
  • The assessment of the effectiveness of continuing professional development.

Additionally, the Agency is responsible for the funding of CPD programs for 10 private practice health professionals (medical laboratory specialists, chiropodists, dental surgeons, doctors, midwives, nurses, orthoptists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and speech therapists).

The Agency is working in close partnership with the representatives of the health professions.

357 health professionals and experts are serving in its governing bodies and committees:

  • The High council of CPD involving high level stakeholders from the healthcare field, including the professional councils, the unions and the learned societies,
  • The ethics committee,
  • The financial committee,
  • 7 Independent Scientific Committees,
  • 10 "Professionals Sections"

The National Agency for CPD is committed to the promotion of effective healthcare continuing professional development that supports the health professionals in improving their practice and in delivering high-quality, safe, patient care.