Clinical Currency

The College requires registrants to self-report the total number of clinical hours they worked in the previous year on their Annual Licence Renewal Form. Registrants who indicate that they are not current for clinical practice, as defined in section 2-8 of the Bylaws made under the Health Professions Act, are flagged in the College’s registration database and may subsequently be prevented from billing for clinical services, referring, and/or prescribing.

This annual review ensures that registrants are qualified, and that they remain competent and fit to practise medicine within their scope, and according to legislated requirements. This information is shared electronically with PharmaNet and the Medical Services Plan (MSP) to disable a registrant’s prescribing and billing functionality. It is also indicated on certificates of professional conduct issued by the College to other organizations, including medical regulatory authorities and health authorities.

Registrants who are identified by the College as not current for clinical practice may be able to regain currency through an individualized plan as detailed below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be current in clinical practice?

Clinical practice is defined as direct patient care for the purpose of making a diagnosis and/or providing treatment, and includes diagnostic specialties such as pathology and radiology. Research, teaching, administration and medical regulation do not constitute clinical practice. According to section 2-8 of the College Bylaws, a registrant must have practised clinically in his or her field for a minimum of 960 hours over the preceding three year period (24 weeks full-time) to be considered current. 

When will a “not current for clinical practice” flag be added to a registrant’s record?

In January of each year, the College requires registrants to self-report the total number of clinical hours they worked in the previous year on their Annual Licence Renewal Form. If a registrant provides a response that indicates s/he may not be current in clinical practice, the College will send a letter or email reminding the registrant about the requirements of section 2-8, and advising that an internal flag may be added on the College’s database to indicate that they are not current for clinical practice. Once enabled, this flag will prevent a registrant from billing MSP, referring and/or prescribing.

What is the purpose of adding the flag?

The College’s primary function is to ensure physicians are qualified, competent and fit to practise medicine, and that they meet expected professional standards. All registrants are required to consistently maintain the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to deliver the best possible care to patients throughout their professional careers. This internal flag is one of a number of improvements being implemented by the College to ensure patient safety. This information will not be displayed to the public in the online physician directory; however, the ability to prescribe and bill will be electronically disabled. When requesting a certificate of professional conduct, this information will be shared with other organizations, including medical regulatory authorities and health authorities.

How can a registrant obtain or regain clinical currency?

If a registrant wishes to obtain or regain currency for clinical practice, s/he must contact the College and participate in a process that may result in having to acquire the necessary level of competence. Upon review of the registrant’s circumstances, including past clinical practice, the length of the absence from clinical practice, continuing professional development and the anticipated future scope of practice, the College may provide the registrant with an individualized plan, which may require the completion of a period of formal assessment of skill, knowledge and competency as determined by the registrar. Such assessments must be completed in a setting where the supervising physician(s) are engaged in educational assessment as a regular part of their professional practice. Following the assessment, a summative report must be delivered to the College. Following consideration of the report, additional training may be required. 

Who should registrants contact to discuss their clinical currency

Questions about clinical currency can be directed to the registration department by email registrationcompliance@cpsbc.ca or by phone 604-733-7758 extension 2637.