The NHS Appraisal Toolkit website will be offline for three weeks after a routine security check discovered the system could be compromised by intruders.
DoH said the website, established nine years ago, was ‘not sufficiently robust to withstand modern day hacking'.
Ministers instructed the website to be taken offline until supplier SCHIN is able to address the problem. The DoH said there was no evidence of a security breach or loss of data.
The department acknowledged that many of the website's 27,000 users were scheduled to undertake annual appraisals during this period. But it said it was necessary to address the security risk in the face of concerns, which were shared by the BMA and RCGP.