GPs in areas where primary care organisations (PCOs) are refusing to fund appraisals should not take part, according to the GPC.
Negotiators’ exasperation followed DoH advice to PCOs that appraisals should be paid for.
The GPC named west Gloucestershire PCT, Harrow PCT, west Lincolnshire PCT, south-west Lincolnshire PCT and Kent PCT as areas where GPs had encountered problems.
GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said this month’s GPC meeting had heard reports from across England where PCOs were trying to save money.
‘PCTs have said they will no longer fund the cost of appraisal. They expect GPs to be appraised by appraisers who get paid nothing, or else the whole appraisal system is suspended,’ he said.
‘One suggestion is that GPs pay their own appraisers, which seems bizarre. To pay someone to form an opinion about how well you are working doesn’t seem the best way to acquire an independent point of view.’
Dr Meldrum said the GPC’s aim was for appraisals to be funded: ‘However, in areas where that is not happening, there should be no obligation for GPs to undertake appraisal. The contractual obligation is to participate in a funded system and, if a PCO is not providing anything, it’s a bit difficult to participate.’
Dr Meldrum said a national stance was needed: ‘If PCOs see that one area is getting away with it, others might try to follow suit.’
Dr Meldrum estimated that the average PCO would save £25,000 a year by not implementing appraisal.