Professional Competence

To Log your CPD points Click Here


Since May 2011, all registered medical practitioners have been legally obliged to enrol in a professional competence scheme (PCS), in line with the requirements set by the Medical Council. The schemes formalise the process of career-long learning and are operated by the postgraduate training bodies to facilitate professional practice which is centred on patient safety and quality patient care. The learning and career development activities which doctors must engage in are straightforward and practice-based.

The ICO is approved by the Medical Council to administer a PCS in line with the requirements of the Medical Practitioners Act. Participation in a PCS helps registered doctors to demonstrate that they are fulfilling their statutory duty and the ICO's scheme facilitates this process for medical and surgical eye specialists. The ICO's scheme is open for enrolment to both members and non-members. Enrolment is completed through the online eportal, which enables enrolled individuals to log their activities and points. The ICO looks forward to supporting our ophthalmic colleagues in meeting their annual PCS requirements

Download the ICO PCS booklet (PDF)

The PCS is an evidence-informed education initiative that encourages and supports the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities of participants. As a PCS participant, you shape the learning process to suit your professional requirements. You are responsible for developing and implementing yourpersonal CPD plan, relevant to your roles and responsibilities.

Professional Competence has been defined by the Medical Council as having two key components:

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and
  • Clinical Audit.
CPD is measured in hours with each full hour of educational activity equaling one CPD credit. Practitioners must accumulate 50 CPD credits
(subdivided into a min of 20 external, 20 internal, 5 personal learning) on an annual basis and one clinical audit per year.


The scheme year runs from May 1 to April 30. Statements of Participation are issued on a yearly basis and are available in May each year. The Statement will reflect what you have recorded on your PCS ePortfolio. The Medical Council may ask you for evidence of participation in a Professional Competence Scheme and your Annual Statement of Participation is appropriate evidence for this purpose.

ICO is using the PCS ePortfolio developed by the RCSI. This is a web-based application to allow users to easily record their professional competence activity. Once enrolled on the ICO Professional Competence Scheme, practitioners will get access to the PCS ePortfolio

Medical Council Audit

The Medical Council will undertake an annual audit of a random sample of participants. You will receive advice from the Medical Council if you have been selected for an audit. In the first instance, the Medical Council will request a copy of your annual statement of participation.

Postgraduate Training Body Annual verification Process ICO will undertake an annual verification of activities recorded by practitioners within the professional competence scheme. Approximately, 3-5% of enrolees will be randomly selected for verification. If selected, you will receive notification from ICO that you have been selected for verification of CPD activity.

This is a supportive exercise intended to promote confidence in what practitioners are recording, identify best practices in maintaining competence, identify shortfalls in meeting the Professional Competence Scheme requirements and provide support to assist practitioners in addressing these shortfalls. If verified with no further corrective action, practitioners will not be verified for the next two years, and then only verified if randomly selected.

Recognition of Educational Events for External Continuing Professional Development (CPD) To apply for CPD recognition, please contact

Download the 'Guidelines for Education Events' for CPD (PDF)

To enrol on the ICO PCS Scheme please follow this link

  1. Press the 'enrol' tab
  2. Fill in the online application form, giving details of your qualifications, Medical Council number and current post
  3. Pay the fee €250 annually (a reduced fee is payable by ICO members)
  4. Submit online application and await confirmation of enrolment
  5. Record CPD & Audit activity

ICO Continuing Professional Development Support Scheme

The HSE provides funding for NCHDs to attend courses and meetings organised by the Irish Post Graduate Training Bodies to help you meet the requirements of the professional competence scheme. The funding is channeled directly to the Training Bodies to cover the registration fee for the event.
To avail of the support you are invited to enroll on the Irish College of Ophthalmologists  Continuing Professional Development Support Scheme.
To enrol please complete the ICO CPD SS Application Form and return by email to  

Forum of Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies Frequently Asked Questions Regarding PCS

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.

ICO Information for Retired Doctors