Why I undertook RCGP Membership by Assessment of Performance

Dr Shokat Nawaz explains what the RCGP MAP process involves and why he decided it was time to gain MRCGP.

Membership by Assessment of Performance (MAP) was launched in 2000 and is the only route to MRCGP for established GPs (GPs could previously choose whether or not to take the MRCGP exam but in 2007 it became a compulsory entry requirement for general practice and all GP trainees must now pass it.).

Over the past 15 years, 1,200 candidates have successfully completed the MAP process and the pass rate is 95% for candidates who submit their completed portfolio.

Why take MAP?

I am a 48-year-old GP working in Doncaster. I always intended on attaining my MRCGP qualifications but chose not to do this when I was undertaking my vocational training. This is something I regretted in later years. I feel not having the MRCGP has limited me in securing certain jobs where the requirements included the need for the MRCGP qualification.

I teach medical students and get a great deal of satisfaction from doing this. I have entertained the idea of becoming a GP trainer but not having the MRCGP has limited this ambition. MRCGP is now compulsory for all newly-qualified GPs and I have found that this has made me feel ‘lesser’ than some of my younger colleagues.

So, the main driving forces for me undertaking the MAP assessment were to help me realise my ambition of becoming a trainer and also to increase my own self-esteem.

I had made enquires to the MAP team, who were very helpful and reassured me that most GPs pass the MAP assessment. This was one of my main concerns.

I was also apprehensive about what I perceived to be the huge amount of work that was needed to meet the criteria. The MAP team reassured me that I would manage this and also referred me to a local MAP mentor. The MAP mentor had been through the process herself so provided invaluable support.

Undertaking MAP

Undertaking MAP has helped me to improve the way I practise as a GP. The MAP assessment requires you to look deeply into your practice and show that you can provide a high level of care.

By looking at my prescribing I was able to look at the evidence I use to prescribe and identify areas where I could improve. Was I always justified in my prescribing choices? After undertaking this exercise I am now more conscious of how and what I prescribe. This will inevitably benefit my patients.

I could mention similar benefits from going through all of the criteria. The criteria are varied and extensive and look at all aspects of your practice and because of the quality of the work required for the MAP assessment this encourages you to improve in each area.

The MAP assessment was hard work but manageable. I concentrated on one criteria at a time and did each one to the best of my ability before moving on. Some criteria do take more time than others. The whole process took me just over six months to complete from start to finish, so 12 months is more than enough time to complete the MAP assessment.

While undertaking the assessment I really had a sense that I was doing something worthwhile and tangible for my professional development.

Completing MAP

After completing the portfolio and sending it in for marking I was hoping and expecting to have successfully passed. The portfolio came back as needing some improvement on four of the criteria.

It was interesting to see what the examiners had to say about each of the criteria and I found it useful to get both good and constructive feedback. This process was the most satisfying for me as it gave me a better insight into the standard the MAP assessors were working to and provided me with a further challenge.

This whole process has boosted my self-esteem and I am proud to now be able to add MRCGP after my name. It was both challenging and worthwhile. I would strongly recommend anyone considering undertaking the MAP assessment to just go ahead and do it. You will have no regrets. 

  • Dr Nawaz is a GP in Doncaster

Read more: My role as a MAP assessor

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