To be revalidated by the General Medical Council all UK doctors have to evidence participation in Continuing Medical Education (CME). This is based upon an accredited system of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). CPD is mandatory.
This Hole Ousia post considers CPD for UK psychiatrists.
This week I was included in a circular e-mail that ‘sign-posted’ this free CPD educational opportunity for trainee psychiatrists. I was asked to share this with trainees.
BAP is acronym for the British Association of Psychopharmacology. I frequently hear colleagues describe it as “the place to go to” for CPD.
This is the current Calendar:
I have written on a number of occasions over the last few years to BAP about transparency of financial conflicts of interest:
BAP have now significantly improved on transparency and each speaker now has a link to any declared financial interests. This is available to professionals and public alike.
The declarations however give no details of amounts paid for any particular service.
BAP educational events are regularly advertised in the British Journal of Psychiatry
The Chief Executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists recently offered this reassurance (Psychiatric Bulletin, December 2016):
Last year £340 million was paid by the Pharmaceutical Industry to UK healthcare workers for “promotional activities”.
There is currently a voluntary register (ABPI).
The BMJ reported this in March 2017:
As it stands, professionals, patients and public alike can have no clear understanding of where this £340 million went to in the UK for “promotional activities”.
However we do have evidence that promotional activity can lead to doctors recommending worse treatments for patients.
Returning to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) calendar that the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) is currently providing. It took me a full day to go through the declarations. These follow below, in alphabetical order of educator:
In summary it is encouraging to see these declarations of financial interests for BAP educators. This is a group of professionals who have a position of significant influence over the prescribing patterns of current and future psychiatrists. This means that even those doctors who regard themselves as not being subject to conflicts of interest may be indirectly influenced.
It is my concern that this potential influence is not always recognised by colleagues attending CPD in good faith and this is my reason for compiling this post.