Here you will find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If the answer you are looking for isn’t here, and you think it should be;

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Continuing professional development (CPD) is the way in which HCPC Registrants ( & anyone else)  can continue to learn and develop throughout their careers so they keep their skills and knowledge up to date and are able to practise safely and effectively.

CPD is not just formal courses. A CPD activity is any activity from which you learn and develop. This might include the following;

  • Work-based learning. For example, reflecting on experiences at work, considering feedback from service users or being a member of a committee.
  • Professional activity. For example, being involved in a professional body or giving a presentation at a conference.
  • Formal education. For example, going on formal courses or carrying out research.
  • Self-directed learning. For example, reading articles or books.

For examples of which activities fulfil the HCPC criteria for CPD please download a copy of the CPD Reflective Practice document and refer to page 3.

CPD modules from Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) are mainly drawn from Health & Care Degree (BSc) or Masters (MSc) programmes. The programmes are made up of modular courses that add together to give enough credits to claim the award at the end.

Click the image below to see a Higher Education Qualification credit map

HE credit map

They are sometimes offered as a CPD module so people can either study a particular subject they are interested in as a standalone subject, or people can ‘module gather’ at their own pace and claim a generic award when they have enough credits. (If you don’t complete all the specific modules specified for a Programme, you cannot claim that award, but you can claim a generic award). e.g. You could complete a mix of modules from a Nursing degree and a Paramedic science degree; with enough credits then claim a Health & Social Care BSc. But you would need to complete the compulsory modules listed in the Nursing / Paramedic Science degree , and complete the placement to claim the specific degree. You would still have a valid BSc, just not in that specific subject, (and you would not be able to register as a professional in that field).

When it comes to a Masters pathway or programme, you have entered the realm of the Post Graduate. This can be different at different HEIs. Some will allow you to start a MSc pathway without a BSc, other will require you to have completed a BSc.

You can use a proportion of BSc credits towards a post graduate qualification, but you will need mainly MSc credits. This will depend on the HEI and the pathway.

Once you begin on a Post graduate (PG) pathway, you can ‘cash in’ your credits and ‘step off’ the pathway at certain points. You can stop and claim a Post Graduate Certificate (PG Cert), then a Post Graduate Diploma (PG Dip), and then finally a full Masters award (MSc).

Then, if you still have a family life and any sanity left, you can start looking at a Post Graduate Doctorate (PHd).

If you have applied for an HE Module, (and it isn’t a short notice / ‘1st come, 1st served’ offering), then the process will be as close to possible as the process outlined HERE

Stick with it, it’s a bit complex! If you want to know more, just give us a call- we are always happy to chat

Most of the funding for CPD (especially high cost courses like HE modules) comes direct from other organisations like Health Education England (HEE), or local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Sometimes, restrictions are placed on the area the money can be spent e.g. Glos. CCG funded a bid last year that could only be spent on staff in the Glos. CCG area. HEE often fund bids that come attached with conditions , such as they are aimed at specific staff groups to up-skill them in specific ways, which limit the level modules can be taken at or the subjects offered.

SWAST bid for these funds in competition with other Trusts and health and social care organisations. The bids we put in are for certain topics, like upskilling staff in to a particular level (BSc), or work force transformation, (e.g. creating more advanced skills in a certain clinical area). Sometimes funds are a one off tied to a certain national project, sometimes they come round more than once. Either way, it is hard to plan around as most is subject to national plans.The bids have to specify what modules we are going to fund, and once these have been chosen (usually from a list provided to us by funding organisation and the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) , we have to stick to the modules chosen, so can’t fund bespoke ones on request.

SWAST only has a very small budget for CPD, and most of this is spent on small short courses such as PROMPT and pre-hospital burns. The rest of the budget is spent on CPD dept. admin costs to keep the whole thing running.

A lot of short courses, & CPD events are actually run on a shoestring. Normally set up by SWAST staff who are passionate about a subject (often in their own time), combined with local external contacts such as friendly Doctors and other specialists. These external people often give up their time , & often bring funding to the event from their side. SWASTCPD support these events with marketing & organisation , but rarely have any funding to contribute.

Other Short courses & places on short courses are offered to us by external organisations who want to promote their message & increase multi-disciplinary training. (Such as some of the Cornwall & RDE PROMPT places).

Some of the short courses are funded by SWAST, but only those which are part of an L&D plan such as ECG L1 & 2 , Pre-Hospital PROMPT, AET.

This is why it is imperative that you don’t cancel courses at the very last minute or just don’t bother turning up. We have lost some great free CPD providers when SWAST staff no-show repeatedly, they soon loose interest in working with us. Most courses are also oversubscribed, so when your place isn’t filled, someone else (your colleague) has missed out.

All this has to be balanced against the delivery of L&D core business, which is an enormous undertaking for our dedicated L&D staff, delivering training and quality assurance to you. (No mean feat, as there’s loads of you, and only a few of them!)

A lot of CPD modules are drawn from Health BSc or MSc programs that are then offered as standalone professional courses. The subject matter is often aimed at, and expects a pre-requisite level of knowledge, experience, and most importantly, access to situations and experiences that a Registered Clinician has or can obtain.

This is written into the module specification by the HEI, and they won’t be able to enrol you on the module without proof of this.

It is correct that most of the modules offered by SWASTCPD are aimed at Registered Clinicians. We do try and source modules to give as many people access as possible, but our funding mainly comes from Health Education England, and they specify how the funding they give us is used.

For example, one of the main focuses after the Band 6 uplift of Paramedics has been to upskill Paramedics to degree level, to encourage those without degrees to upskill, and to ensure that the workforce skills move towards matching the banding. We are also bound by the CPD programmes offered by HEIs , which often don’t have much available for non-registered staff that would fit the criteria from HEE.

Sometimes, funding comes to us at the very last minute, as organisations (as above) ‘find’ surplus funds that they need to be spent. This is often due to other external projects they are managing ending early / coming in cheaper than expected.

The surplus is often offered to us at the last minute if we can spend it. It often comes with certain conditions, such as – we must deliver the training by a certain date so they can account for the money / we must have everyone enrolled by a certain date so they can account for the money.

Although this isn’t ideal for us or you in terms of trying to arrange the courses and giving notice to book on the courses; we would rather take the funding and do our best to get development and education out short notice than turn it down.

Sometimes, other Trusts such as Hospital Trusts, have places that they were allocated,/ have funded, but for some reason they haven’t been able to fill the places, or people have left or withdrawn. We sometimes get offered these places, and we say yes if they are suitable for Ambulance staff. The places are often very late in the day before the module starts as they try to fill them up to the last minute

Sometimes, a module or course we have offered hasn’t filled as well as we have expected, or people have withdrawn. We then offer the module as a 1st come 1st served place as we don’t have time to process the applications in the normal way before the course starts.

With all the last minute places, if we don’t fill them they will be lost and not refunded; so we think it’s better to get someone on than go through the normal application process and lose the place.

There are 2 people in the CPD Team. (Yes, only 2!). The CPD Lead works 2 days a week , & 3 days a week for a CCG CEPN as an Education Facilitator.

Between us we:

  • Manage the website
  • Manage the Facebook & Twitter feeds
  • Manage all the course venue bookings
  • Manage the funding bids
  • Manage the University liasion (purchasing modules & dealing with the admin.)
  • Manage the applications for all courses & modules
  • Manage all the queries & questions by email, phone, and social media.
  • Occasionally have Lunch & have some relaxing Annual leave

We really do try our best to get back to you as soon as we can, but sometimes (especially when it’s busy) we get a bit snowed under. Please feel free to chase us more than once if you dont get a reply, as we aren’t always in the office either to answer the phone.

First you will need to ensure the CPD Event is suitable, & gain permission to put the event on. This isn’t as hard as it sounds!

Contact your a local Lead Paramedic, Practice Placement Educator, Operations Officer, Learning & Development Officer, or Clinical Development Officer & run it by the to see what they think.

When you have approval, you will need to do several things.

You will need to have a valid risk assessment for the event, EVEN FOR CLASSROOM EVENTS – BUT ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR ANY EXERCISES (guidance and forms can be found on the SWAST Intranet here. many are already written or can easily be adapted so it isn’t hard). When you have a suitable risk assessment in place download this form,CPD EVENT BOOKING FORM & complete all the details, & attache the risk assessment you will be using, and send it all into us.

We can then help you promote & advertise the event, (if you want us to).

If you are an LP, PPED, LDO, OO, CDO & your are unsure of the process , or want to discuss the event with us, please get in touch with the CPD Lead or drop us a line.

Contact us via the Contact page or use the details at the bottom of this page. (Please be specific and detail what is wrong).

We try hard to get it right, but we do make mistakes!  We would love it if you let us know so we can fix them ASAP!

All course locations are shown on the course advert page via the ‘INFO & BOOKING’ button

The reason it isn’t open to ECAs is that it is taught from a lead Clinician viewpoint, utilising skills and drugs that you would not be able use. The priority for the Trust is to get all Paras through the course.

We need to ensure we had enough places for our clinicians as the PROMPT course supports us in our offer of core skills training. The course content is within a Paramedics scope of practice.

We do appreciate that ECAs would benefit, but the course goes above the core skills and competencies of an ECA; and whilst we acknowledge for them to have an awareness is good,  we would be concerned that a non-registered clinician could take away skills and end up in a position where they feel they should perform these skills out of their supported scope of practice. We don’t want to place people in a risky position like this. 

Uniform is not required for HE Modules unless specifically requested for a practical element.

If a course requires uniform for practical elements, it will be specifically mentioned in the course advert page via the ‘INFO & BOOKING’ button’

To book on a Funded short course; go to the How to apply for Funded short courses page

To apply for funding for an HE Module ; go to the How to apply for an HE Module page

To book on a CPD Event ; go to the CPD Events page

SWAST only has a very small budget for CPD, and most of the funding comes from external bids from government organisations such as Health Education England and Clinical Commissioning groups. SWAST bid for funding to develop our staff, and the funding does not cover the cost of covering your shifts.

(Please note expenses and travel costs are not covered either)

There are lots of free online sites that can help you build a CPD portfolio. A popular one is and the College of Paramedics also have lots of info.(but you will need to join!)

The HCPC also has a lot of advice on what you need to do to maintain your CPD portfolio and what the standards are, including some sample portfolios. hcpc CPD

The CPD Reflective Practice document is designed to asist you with your CPD portfolio. Simply download a copy, book onto some courses and complete the questions as you attend each activity.

If the course you wish to attend has a fee attached, you should contact the course provider to discuss payment. We only advertise paid courses for other providers that may be of interest for SWAST staff. The CPD department does not take payments.

If a course is advertised as via the Commerical training deptartment in SWAST, payment can be made direct to them.

Please ensure you advise us of any cancellations with as much advance notice as possible so we can offer your place to someone else.

If you booked the course directly on the website, please contact us as soon as possible at

If you booked the course with an external provider, check the course advert page or your confirmation e-mail for the course administrators’ contact details.

We are very keen to receive any feedback, comments, photos about courses you’ve attended or the website. Feedback can be given in a number of ways;

All feedback will be acknowledged and reviewed by the CPD Admin Team. On occassion we may ask you if we can use positive comments or photos you’ve sent us in order to further advertise and promote the relevant course. Where negative feedback is provided this will be reviewed and if possible changes will be made and improvements will be implemented.

We experimented with some ‘memes’ and tried injecting a bit of fun into the social media streams to see if it would generate more interest in the adverts and courses. Using Google analytics / Facebook insights tool & Twitter marketing tools, we were able to track responses and interactions.

We found that the response generated by marketing messages with a ‘fun’ or comical element increased our digital footfall and site hits / interactions / and click-throughs by over 300% compared to simple information marketing.  We admit, we sometimes we don’t get it quite right, but we are learning and love your feedback!