Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

PCS Survey Outcome 2014

Outcome of Survey 2014

We undertook a review of the results of the survey sent out following the completion of the PCS year 1 May 2013 - 30 April 2014.

Feedback highlighted a number of suggestions as to how to improve the online PCS system and there were recurring items raised, which we will try to address via a question and answer model (see below).

To view a question's answer simply click on the question.

Q What is the Professional Competence Scheme year start and end date?

The scheme year runs from 1 May to 30 April. In order to maintain your enrolment on the RCSI Professional Competence Scheme you must pay an annual fee by 30 April. If you do not pay your annual fee by 30 April each year, you will not receive an annual Statement of Participation for the particular year. The Statement of Participation is the key document you will need to submit if selected for an audit by the Medical Council.

Q How do I access my PCS Certificate/Statement of Participation?

Log on to After logging in you will presented with a summary page. Click on the view statement (this is your certificate). You will be presented with your Statement of Participation which you will be able to save or print. Statements of Participation are available on a yearly basis and are available in May each year. Click here for guidelines.

Q I have a lot of difficulty uploading verification documents such as PowerPoint.

The easiest and most efficient format to save any document you are going to attach is either as a PDF or word format. The following is a list of common file types which can be uploaded as an Attachment for verification purposes: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .xls, .xlsx, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif – these are mainly word documents, PDFs, plain text, excel and webcompatible image files. We have now added PowerPoint files to this list of file types, however we would not recommend this as a file type as it could cause delays to uploading and cause storage issues in the long-term. We would advise that Word document /PDF file types are best practice.

Q When adding records, there is no option to continue adding records without returning to the overview page.

We have amended the screens to allow for more ease of navigation when adding records/activities to your PCS ePortfolio. You can now add a record without returning to the overview screen. The tabs summary/view records/add record are now available at the top of the screen when you add records.

Q No option to upload ‘summary' certificate confirming attendance at recurring internal meetings.

It is acceptable to make one entry to cover several episodes of the same activity but details of each episode must be included on the attached document i.e. name of activity/date of activity/number of hours of activity. Please see template document and guidelines on our website This verification document needs to be signed by clinical director/head of department/hospital manager. Otherwise a certificate or memorandum signed by clinical director/head of department or hospital manager confirming that you attended the activities and the number of hours undertaken. This can then be uploaded as one entry for your internal activities.

Q If I attend an RCSI activity, how do I know when the credits have been added to my ePortfolio?

The PCS office will upload CPD credits for participants attending RCSI events on receipt of the registration list from the event organiser. This list must include a Medical Council Number. When CPD credits are uploaded by the PCS office, an email is sent to participants enrolled on the RCSI Professional Competence Scheme to advise that credits have been uploaded.

Q I am unsure how many external CPD credits I should record for a non-accredited educational activity?

If you attend any course/activity that has not been recognised for external CPD, you need to be able to justify that it is relevant to your maintenance of professional competence in the event you are selected for an audit by the Medical Council. The guideline is one hour of educational activity = 1 CPD credit.

Q I am unsure which category certain activities fall under and need more information?

At present, we have details and examples of the various categories and sample activities which may fall under each category available on our website: We are currently looking at the online ‘drop down' menu descriptors and intend to improve these drop-down lists over the coming months.

Q Can I claim preparation time for teaching, presenting research findings, and publishing articles?

Yes, credits for these activities for postgraduate can be claimed under the research and teaching category (5 CPD credits may be claimed for presentation or publication) Each hour you spend undertaking these activities translates to one CPD credit.

Q How do I score participation in academic activities?

In general, one CPD credit is accrued for each hour spent in an activity. Time spent involved in groups working on clinical gudelines or protocols may be also claimed under internal (practice review) activities.

Q Activities I attend exceed the maximum credits allowable on the drop-down credits which is currently 40.

We have a maximum amount of credits that should be recorded for any one particular course in a given PCS year which is 40. It is felt that this would be a fair reflection of the amount of time spent undertaking a course that requires a considerable time commitment. If however your activity is more than 40, you can make two entries for the same activity and attach one certificate of attendance.

Q Why do I have to participate/complete an audit every year?

A key mandatory part of the PCS requirements is that each doctor is expected to evaluate the clinical outcomes or other measures of clinical performance. The audit should be relevant to scope of practice and the methodology must be adapted to those who are not in routine clinical practice. Audits should include qualitative and quantitative measurements of activity. Where there are no known or available standards, data can be compared to historical records over time. This data should be subject to peer review. The Medical Council has produced a number of videos relating to the topic of clinical audit following an interactive workshop on the subject of clinical audit provided by experts in this area. Click here for clinical audit guides. Also the HSE has provided a useful Practical Guide to Clinical Audit.

The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) oversees the running of national clinical audits which may be of interest to you and may help you in achieving your requirements in relation to participation in clinical audit.