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 varied across the country, from £200 to £1,000.
The GPC has warned that the move could lead to GPs quitting being appraisers, resulting in a shortage in some areas. Already the GPC has heard reports of some area teams trialling non-peer appraisals for GPs.
GPC negotiator Dr Dean Marshall said: ‘We would be happier for them to level it up rather than down.
‘There is a big risk of people stopping doing this if they are taking a cut.
‘We have said that we think that will not be enough in some areas. It may not be lucrative compared to other types of work. It won’t cover the cost of a locum for a day.’
Dr Marshall said that it is important for GPs to still have peer reviews. Where a GP has a specialism, it is acceptable once in the five year revalidation cycle to be appraised by a specialist, Dr Marshall said. An example of this would be for a GP to be appraised by a consultant gynaecologist if they specialise in gynaecology.
He said: ‘Our concern is that what will happen in areas [where there aren’t enough GP appraisers] is that they will start being appraised by people that aren’t GPs. We will lose peer appraisal. It could be done by a NHS manager or another clinician. Anecdotally we are hearing that it is already starting. Someone said this is going to be done by a manager.
‘You need to be appraised by one of your peers.’
Dr Marshall warned that the appraiser’s role has become more demanding after revalidation has been introduced.
‘The role is more complicated under revalidation,’ he said. ‘There will be consequences if someone has deferred. A lot of appraisers will be worried that they will be dragged into disputes.’
A spokeswoman for NHS England said it decided on the £500 fee ‘following several discussions and calculations, on the basis of what is needed, as identified in the piloting phases, and what is fair and affordable across the system.
‘Prior to April 2013, fees across the country ranged from around £200 to just under £1,000.’