CPD heat turns on college
THE independence of CPD programs is in doubt after the RACGP admitted its guidelines are not stringent enough and the burgeoning education industry makes them impossible to police.
The admission follows widely publicised reports that CPD provider HealthEd allowed pharmaceutical sponsors to hand-pick speakers at educational events without disclosure to attending doctors (MO, 29 February).
However, Medical Observer has learned that the RACGP endorsed HealthEd’s program in line with its CPD guidelines after a complaint was lodged to the college about a year ago regarding the involvement of the event’s sponsor.
When asked about the complaint, Dr Ramesh Manocha, HealthEd convenor, confirmed the college had reviewed the company’s practices and ruled its sponsorship and speaker arrangements satisfactory.
“The college asked us for a meeting and raised its concerns with us. We addressed those concerns and we believe that the college was satisfied with our responses,” he said.
Dr Peter Maguire, chair of the RACGP’s QA&CPD subcommittee said: “The publicity has raised a number of issues and we have basically gone back and said: do our policies really hit these issues or are there gaps that have been uncovered that we need to address?”
In an attempt to clarify the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and CPD providers, the wording of its guidelines would change to make it clear that all pharmaceutical company involvement in events must be disclosed.
The current college guidelines fail to spell out disclosure requirements associated with pharmaceutical sponsors nominating speakers.
Dr Maguire added that with more than 3700 CPD providers providing 14,580 different activities in the last triennium, it was “impossible to police every event”.
The college would not comment on the HealthEd case and Dr Maguire stressed the guidelines review was not linked to the complaint.
Former HealthEd employee Annie Shaw, who made the complaint, said she feared the practice was widespread.
Mrs Shaw, who set up her own education provider company after leaving HealthEd, said she would endeavour to avoid any sponsorship of her events to maintain independence.
“What I see as the real danger is the whole education system sort of slipping into secrecy and dishonesty and the more I started looking into it the more it opened my eyes basically,” she said.