NHS England advice will increase GP appraisal by managers, says BMA

More GPs could be appraised by managers under policy on medical appraisal set out by NHS England, the BMA has warned.

GP appraisal: appraisers could be non-medical
GP appraisal: appraisers could be non-medical

NHS England's Medical Appraisal Policy makes clear that 'appraisers do not need to be licensed doctors'.

GPs in some areas are already being appraised by NHS managers, a move which has been criticised by both the BMA and the RCGP.

The GPC has warned of a shortage in GP appraisers because of a reduction in fees. NHS England has recommended that GP appraisers are paid a £500 fee for carrying out an appraisal, which means that some will face a cut because the amount they received has varied across the country, from £200 to £1,000.

GPC negotiator Dr Dean Marshall warned that the appraisal policy, published last month, will increase the number of GPs being appraised by NHS managers.

‘We have had reassurance from various people in NHS England that this is not the intention, but my issue is that it will be the default position when they can’t get GPs to become appraisers,' he said. 'They will say "a manager can do that for half the price".

‘GPs should be able to choose an appraiser from panel, but appraisers are now appointed to them. The policy hasn’t been agreed with us.’

The policy states that appraisers will ‘normally’ be doctors but does not make it compulsory.

It reads: ‘The GMC has made it clear that to satisfy the requirements of revalidation, appraisers do not need to be licensed doctors and that local decisions should determine the overall suitability of the appraiser workforce, but it is important that both the doctor and their responsible officer have confidence in the appraiser’s ability to carry out the role to the required standard.

‘In addition to this there must be no conflict of interest or appearance of bias between a doctor and their appraiser, to ensure the objectivity of the appraisal. Also, to maximise achievement of all the purposes of appraisal stated earlier, the doctor should be in agreement with the assigned appraiser.’

An NHS England spokeswoman said: 'NHS England’s medical appraisal policy supports the GMC’s stance that to satisfy the requirements of revalidation, appraisers do not need to be licensed doctors and that local decisions should determine the overall suitability of the appraiser workforce, but it is important that both the doctor and their responsible officer have confidence in the appraiser’s ability to carry out the role to the required standard.'

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