Medical appraisals

Read our overview of what a medical appraisal is and the stages of the process.

Location: England
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 22 March 2021
Career Progression Article Illustration

What is a medical appraisal?

A medical appraisal is:

  • an annual meeting between a doctor and a colleague who is trained as an appraiser
  • a process of facilitated self-review supported by information gathered from the full scope of your work.

The supporting evidence you gather is key to demonstrating your GMC fitness to practise whatever your branch of practice.

If more detailed guidance is needed, individuals should contact their appraiser responsible officer. It may also be appropriate to discuss specialty issues with the appropriate college or faculty.


Objectives of your medical appraisal

Medical appraisal can be used for a number of purposes, including:

  • to reflect on your individual practice and performance with their appraiser
  • to help you plan your professional development
  • to identify learning needs
  • to ensure your are working in line with the organisational priorities
  • to demonstrate that you are remaining up to date and fit to practise.

The appraisal process is important 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.


Stages of the appraisal process

  1. Inputs into appraisal.
  2. The confidential appraisal discussion.
  3. Outputs from appraisal.

For more information on the stages in the appraisal process view the guidance from the NHS Revalidation Support Team.


Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)

The ARCP is an annual process where a panel of Deanery educationalists meet to:

  • consider and approve the adequacy of the evidence and documentation provided by the trainee in accordance with the curricula for that specialty programme
  • make a judgement about the trainee’s suitability to progress to the next stage of training
  • communicate the outcome to the trainee.

The purpose of the ARCP is not to determine whether a trainee can do all the things required of them, only whether they have the evidence they can do them.

Who has an ARCP

All specialty trainees or stR’s including general practice trainees, those in core training and less than full-time training.

This also includes trainees in combined academic or clinical programmes, trainees who are out of programme, trainees in Fixed Term Specialty Training Appointments (FTSTAs), trainees in Locum Appointments for Training (LATs).

More information


Appraisals for sessional GPs

Many sessional GPs have several portfolios and you will need to consider how you might evidence your fitness to practice in these different roles.

If you undergo a performance review in these roles, you should include the outputs of such meetings as additional supporting information.

In roles that are less formalised you should be able to demonstrate that your CPD and review of your practice (through quality improvement, SEAs and feedback) is drawn from the whole of the scope of your practice over the five-year revalidation cycle, with annual reflection on your competence for each role.

More information

For more information about evidence of fitness to practice, collating feedback from colleagues and patients, quality improvement activity and significant events, read the appraisal and revalidation guidance from the Royal College of GPs.