The Structured Annual Conversation (SAC) forms the core of the recertification process.  Doctors review their achievements from the previous year, and through a process of reflection and discussion, formulate the direction their CPD will take in the coming years. 

The conversation is guided in such a way as to extract all the relevant learning needs from the year just gone and enable a PDP to be developed for the coming years.  The guide includes simple tools to support the conversation and to make the development of the next Professional Development Plan (PDP) easier.  The College intends to provide an IS to support the SAC and PDP development.  

The SAC should take place towards the end of your current year, so you can prepare your PDP and decide on your activities for the coming year. 

Where at all possible, the conversation should take place in person, and ideally in a location away from clinical and workplace distraction.  It must take place in a location in which privacy is always maintained.  In exceptional circumstances, ill health or a global pandemic for example, teleconferencing will be acceptable.

The SAC should take place with an urgent care peer.

SAC overview 

Completing the SAC requires: 

  • Preparation, by personally reviewing your last year’s targets (personally set or mandated) and PDP, and your actual activities completed. 
  • Peer-led, College-guided, coaching conversation discussing what you did and didn’t achieve or learn, with a discussion about what should be carried forward to satisfy mandated requirements and your own personal plans. 
  • Identifying and agreeing on what activities should comprise your coming year’s activities. 

Reporting and monitoring 

The peer is required to confirm with the College that they have led you through the structured conversation. 

The College is required to monitor compliance with the recertification programme and report non-compliance to MCNZ.  We will review progress annually, and conduct a more detailed audit at the end of each triennium. 

Guide to the SAC 

A guide is available. It contains a template that could be used, including the form used by the peer to report to the College. 


Professional Development Plan

The Professional Development Plan (PDP) is a means by which doctors can reflect on areas of their clinical practice which they wish to strengthen or address possible weaknesses. Doctors should use the information gathered from undertaking CPD activities during the year, and from their structured conversation to inform their professional development plan (PDP).  It is a core element of recertification as stipulated by the MCNZ.

The PDP will be reviewed each year at the structured annual conversation, but it can be reviewed and adapted throughout the year.  It is a living document that will accompany the doctor through their years of practice.

A PDP may take into account:

  • Structured annual conversation or Regular Practice Review
  • Supervisor discussions
  • Satisfying training programme requirements
  • Maintaining progress through the training programme towards Fellowship
  • Need to update clinical knowledge and skills
  • The requirements of the employer
  • Areas a doctor would like to follow up on
  • Issues arising from patient cases
  • Outcome of audits
  • Patient feedback, complaints or incident reports
  • Areas of practice in which a doctor feels uncomfortable
  • Your health and wellbeing
  • Life or career goals

The e-portfolio and the PDP will be linked, enabling easy monitoring of activities and achievements.

Cultural Safety and Health Equity

For each entry into the PDP, consideration must be given to the elements of Cultural Safety and Health Equity.  Document ways in which the activity has demonstrated CSHE, or what CSHE elements have been learned through undertaking the activity.

If it is identified that the activity has not contained CSHE elements, reflect upon how the activity could demonstrate or feature CSHE and identify ways in which this could be achieved in future activities.

CSHE needs to be embedded in all activities wherever possible and considered in relation to all CPD activities.