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I wanted to be an appraiser when I realised that I can be of help to my colleagues in this way. An annual appraisal and supporting evidence are key to demonstrating your fitness to practice, whatever your branch of practice. It’s also a key opportunity to focus on your development needs. A medical appraisal is a process of facilitated self-review, which is supported by information gathered from the full scope of a doctor’s work.
I have now been an appraiser for two years. My SAS Doctor role has helped me to develop the experience required to organise and conduct a good appraisal. I started by asking my clinical director in the Department to approve my extra commitment as an appraiser by allocating at least an hour in my job plan for the role. I got the approval for this, and committed to appraise at least six colleagues in a year. All of this can be organised on the MARS appraisal system (software) for hospital doctors in Wales.
Before I started the role, I undertook a training day. The postgraduate office in the Health Board organised a training session for the new appraisers within the Health Board. Within a few weeks of the training, I started appraising colleagues from different specialities and different grades. I know by now that appraisal must be a positive, formative and developmental process to support high-quality patient care and improve clinical standards.
I participate positively with my colleagues in the appraisal to put together a professional development plan for the year ahead. This is based on their aspirations and working plans for their future role within their own specialties. I appraise consultants as well as SAS doctor colleagues, and those from different specialties. I always prepare myself for the role and familiarise myself with the evidence submitted on the MARS system before the appraisal meeting itself. I am keen to make myself available on the system for the appraisal meetings and I use my SPA time for this activity.
I value my experience as an appraiser and I continue to build upon my skills. It allows me to participate in the career development of my colleagues and be supportive in structuring their professional development plans. I always encourage my colleagues to link their CPD activities with their designated Royal Colleges and to take an active role in high calibre CPD medical activities throughout the year. I also encourage my colleagues to be part of their local university and the teaching programme for the undergraduate medical students. Teaching medicine to trainee doctors, or to the undergraduate students, can be rewarding and a good experience for the doctors who are interested in medical education. Aneurin Bevan Health Board has university status and this should be reflected in the activities of the medical staff.
Engaging in an appraisal process is a valuable experience and if you would like to get involved in undertaking appraisals, please discuss this with your Clinical Director in the first instance.
Amer is an Associate Specialist in Geriatrics Medicine at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
I am an SAS Doctor in a small DGH. I joined the Appraiser group of doctors in my hospital after an initial course at the RCGPs in London 12 months ago. 0.3 PA is allocated for appraising and this allows for preparation and the appraisal of 10 doctors each year. CPD is required to continuing appraising too.
I find it to be a positive experience which has informed my own practice as well as helping my peers maintain fitness to practice and to progress.
Worth getting involved.
Appraisal in the way it is now is complete and utter waste of time. It is never helps anybody. The GMC and NHS trusts keep doctors as slaves and dictate them "the values" . Yet the results of treatment are better in the countries, where the doctors are their own masters. The waiting lists there are unheard of. But it is impossible to reform the antiquated NHS, because the "managers" don#t want to be without their handsomely paid jobs.
I entirely concur with Amer's comments above. I have been an appraiser at our Trust for the past 12 months think I have been able to offer a tailored approach to the appraisal process for my non-consultant grade colleagues (SAS grade and Clinical Fellows) which they have found valuable. I have been able over the past 10-15 years to develop my role as a SAS doctor in medical education and management and recognise the important role of colleagues who believed in me and provided the support necessary to enable me to flourish. I was fortunate in the consultant colleagues that chose not to just look at the service commitment I could provide for their department, but I know that some other SAS colleagues and clinical fellows have not been so fortunate. I feel as an appraiser I am in a unique position to make the appraisal process a positive experience which potentially can provide the building block to enhance their career development.