What is a medical appraisal?
An annual appraisal and supporting evidence are key to demonstrating your fitness to practise whatever your branch of practice. A medical appraisal is also a key opportunity to focus on your professional development needs.
A medical appraisal is a process of facilitated self-review supported by information gathered from the full scope of a doctor's work.
Medical appraisal can be used for a number of purposes, including:
- To reflect on an individual's practice and performance with their appraiser in order to demonstrate that they remain up to date and fit to practise
- To help doctors plan their professional development
- To identify learning needs
- To ensure doctors are working in line with the organisational priorities
The appraisal process is an important source for agreeing and monitoring personal development objectives.
Whilst it interacts with the job planning process, the two should be kept separate in order to mitigate any conflicts of interest.
Different groups of doctors
The GMC framework for appraisal and revalidation sets out the broad areas that all doctors are expected to address and the responsibilities of both doctors and employers in the process, but there are some differences:
Doctors in training will revalidate through the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) and will not need to participate in the appraisal process as described in this guidance.
Clinical academic staff follow the same appraisal process outlined in this guide. However, as they are employed by both the NHS and a higher education institute - a set of principles have been agreed to integrate the responsibilities of both parties in appraisal, disciplinary and reporting arrangements.
A recent survey made it clear that many sessional GPs require further support with the appraisal and revalidation process. We have provided suggestions on how to tackle many of the problems sessional GPs face and possible solutions that aim to make it a more manageable and positive experience.
Read our tips for sessional GPs
Appraisal and revalidation
Revalidation is the process by which licensed doctors demonstrate they remain up to date and fit to practise. Revalidation is based both on strengthened clinical governance processes and regular appraisal.
Effective appraisals that satisfy the GMC's requirements will form the basis for the Responsible Officer's recommendation on an individual's fitness to practise.
Whilst most doctors will receive a positive recommendation, ROs have a responsibility to inform the GMC of any concerns about a doctor's fitness to practise, a doctor's refusal to engage with the process, or the need for a deferral.
It is important that these issues are addressed as they arise and not solely when the revalidation recommendation is due.
Make sure you are prepared for your revalidation - visit our revalidation area
BMJ Learning presents modules which will complement appraisal activity. Full details:
Getting the most out of your appraisal
Challenge in medical appraisal
Chair of BMA Scottish council Peter Bennie wrote to the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate to raise concerns around the security of the IT system currently used to support appraisal for doctors in Scotland, the Scottish Online Appraisal Resource (SOAR).
Read the letter (PDF)