South African Family Practice

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CPD - The learning preferences of general practitioners

L Van den Berg, MR De Villiers


Introduction: General Practitioners need to stay up to date and to maintain professional competence. The Health Professions Council of SA has introduced a mandatory recertification system starting in 1999. Insufficient research exists locally to reliably identify the continuing professional development (CPD) habits of GP's in South Africa. This study was conducted to continue this search and measure GP's opinions about recertification.

Method: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was done by using a postal questionnaire. This was sent to the 110 GP's in private practice in and from the twenty surrounding towns that traditionally refer patients to the town of Worcester in the Western Cape.

Results: The results were analysed from the 70 questionnaires returned. The most popular forms of CPD were reading journals (94%), evening lectures (92%) and refresher courses (71%). 76 % were in favour of recertification. 17 % were hostile to the concept.

Discussion: The high response rate (64 %), and the data received, supplied answers to many of the questions that inspired the study. An attempt was made to understand why some doctors were against recertification. Methods of introducing GP's to computer CPD were explored, after it was noted that only 20 % used the internet. The traditional CPD menu of lectures, journals and refresher courses remained adequate for the majority of GP's in the study.

SA Fam Pract 2003;45(3):10-12

Keywords: General Practitioners, CPD, Learning Preferences, Habits

AJOL African Journals Online