New appraisal system ‘should allow doctors to focus on treating patients rather than bureaucracy’

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Thursday 3 September 2020
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Responding to details released today1 around restart and new approach to appraisals for doctors, Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, BMA GP committee deputy chair, said:

“A robust appraisal process benefits both doctors and patients, upholding standards and best practice, and encouraging professional development. Following the necessary pausing of appraisals during the height of the pandemic, the BMA has been in discussion with NHSE/I to ensure the planned restart is not overly disruptive for practices while allowing public confidence to be maintained.

“We’re encouraged by the significant simplification of the requirements and the reduction in paperwork, which allows both appraisers and appraisees to focus on treating patients rather than bureaucracy. This slimmed down system is a step forward in empowering doctors to use their appraisal to reflect on their professional development, and forms part of a wider drive by the BMA to reduce bureaucracy.”

Dr Rob Harwood, BMA consultants committee chair, added:

“While appraisals can be an important tool to uphold standards and encourage professionalism, they were rightly put on hold during the height of the pandemic to allow doctors to focus on the very urgent task at hand.

“In recent weeks, the BMA has been in discussion with NHSE/I, making clear that any restart must not disrupt the ongoing Covid-19 response, as well as the huge task of addressing the large backlog of delayed care. We hope that going forward the new, simplified process will allow doctors to focus on treating patients rather than bureaucracy and paperwork, and urge all trusts to adopt this more streamlined approach.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Find a letter from NHS England and Improvement to all Responsible Officers and Medical Directors in England here, and supporting materials from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges here.