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

Retired doctors

The Medical Council has agreed that retired medical practitioners will be subject to the same professional competence requirements as all other practising doctors. This means that any retired doctor wishing to retain registration for the purpose of practising medicine will be obliged to fulfil their statutory duty to maintain professional competence.

There are no special requirements for doctors working less than full-time, or on an occasional basis. Once registered with the Irish Medical Council, a doctor has the right to practise medicine. From the public perspective, the responsibility to maintain professional competence must apply to all doctors, regardless of their working arrangements. Therefore, all doctors on the register have a duty to maintain professional competence by enrolling in a professional competence scheme and engaging in maintenance of professional competence activities as defined by the IMC.

Read more information for retired doctors (Adobe PDF, 50KB).

Below you will see some suggestions as to how practitioners can accumulate CPD credits. Click the title to view the details.

The Professional Competence Scheme Framework

The framework for professional competence is as follows:

  • 50 CPD credits per annum (which must include the minimums listed in the categories below)
  • One clinical/practice audit (a minimum of 12 hours per annum)

The following represents a breakdown of the various categories:

  1. CPD activities
    • External: Maintenance of knowledge and skills
      20 credits per year minimum
    • Internal: Practice evaluation and development
      20 credits per year minimum
    • Personal learning
      5 credits per year minimum
    • Research or training
      2 credits per year desirable
  2. Clinical/practice audit - One audit per year minimum

External category

In most cases, accumulating external CPD credits is relatively straightforward. There are a few meetings held every year in the College – Charter Day/Millin Meeting etc. that retired doctors can attend. There are many other surgical meetings/lectures around the country approved by RCSI and these appear on the RCSI website. Lists of approved activities are now available in a calendar format which you can access directly on your phone or PC.

Below are examples of activity which attendance at are relevant to this category:

  • International/national meetings/conferences
  • Courses
  • Examination
  • Lecture
  • Medical advanced degree
  • Online course e.g. Medscape
  • Seminar
  • Workshop

Internal category

The internal category is the most challenging and 20 credits (hours) annually are required. Retired doctors can achieve internal credits by:

  • Forming a journal club with other retired doctors. Articles read could be discussed, including how learning could be applied to real-life cases.
  • If you are teaching or acting in a professional advisory capacity, then the meetings, presentations or reviews that relate to that role can be recorded in the internal category.
  • Preparation of teaching lectures
  • Preparation time for examining
  • Peer review groups
  • Meetings to discuss medical legal cases
  • Chart reviews which commonly occur in medical legal practice*
  • Attending case presentations
  • Attending meetings that relate to practitioners current role

*If you review charts as part of medical legal work, you can record the number of hours undertaken to review the Charts (1 hour = 1 CPD credit)

A number of academic surgical units, have agreed to allow access to retired surgeons to attend appropriate activities. If you are interested, you should ensure to sign the register when you do attend and you will be issued with a letter confirming your attendance at the end of the term/year. Please also keep a record of your own attendance


  • Tallaght Hospital: Dr Greg Swanick, Friday morning at 8am. To register interest in attending contact Sandra Daly (
  • Beaumont Hospital: Professor Arnold Hill, Thursday morning at 8am. To register interest in attending contact Dr Clive Dunne (
  • Cork University Hospital: Professor Paul Redmond, Wednesday afternoon at 1pm. To register interest in attending contact Terri Goulding ( or Dr Mike O'Connor (
  • University College Hospital Galway: Professor Michael Kerin, Tuesday morning at 8am. To register interest in attending contact Grace Clarke (
  • Waterford Regional Hospital: Professor K. S. Cross,Thursday and Friday morning. To register interest in attending contact Jennie O'Leary (Jennie.O' or 051 842 684).


For more information on the above contact

Personal learning

Accumulating personal learning CPD credits is relatively straightforward. Personal learning including reading journals etc. should also be easy to obtain. Some evidence of this activity should be uploaded into the PCS dashboard.

Below are examples of activity which attendance at are relevant to this category:

  • Self-directed education (eg journal reading)
  • Journal club
  • E-learning
  • Online search
  • Online learning
  • Personal reading
  • Volunteer or outreach activities


Research and teaching

In the category of research and teaching, many of you will be able to accumulate many credits. the minimum recommended is two (but this is only a recommendation and not required of everyone).

Below are examples of activity which attendance at are relevant to this category:

  • Accreditation visit
  • Article publication
  • Poster presentation
  • Postgraduate examiner
  • Undergraduate examiner
  • Lecturer
  • Question setting
  • Research
  • Postgraduate teaching
  • Undergraduate teaching

Clinical/practice audit

An audit does not need to be a clinical audit. Rather, you should audit whatever activity you are currently engaged in. While the audit would ideally consist of measurement, comparison with standards, an intervention and re-evaluation, this may not be practical for all. A quantitative report accompanied by a reflection on quality may suffice in the first instance. This will need to be written and uploaded.

If you are involved in medico-legal work related to your role as a doctor, you could do an audit around this, comparing your activity to best practice guidelines. This may also provide an option to link up with your former colleagues. The following is a template audit (Adobe PDF, 45KB). for this purpose.

The following suggestions may be adaptable to an individual’s requirements:

  • Measurement of individual compliance with guidelines/protocols
  • Medico-legal practice audit
  • Skills analysis
  • Self-assessment
  • Teaching role: An evaluation of teaching role
  • Examining: An evaluation of examining role


The following include information on undertaking an audit if not in practice, which the Medical Council have published to their website:


  • RCSI PCS clinical audit user guide
  • Guide to clinical audit
  • Information on undertaking an audit if not in practice

    CPD events held on a yearly basis