GPs demand standard model for appraisal

GPs have warned that appraisal in England is a 'mess' and called for an end to variation in the evidence required from doctors and in pay for appraisers.

Dr Marshall: standardise appraisal
Dr Marshall: standardise appraisal

Freedom for local organisations to vary requirements means appraisal has become a 'performance management tool' rather than helping GPs improve, GP leaders said.

Senior GPs have urged NHS England to set out a national standard for appraisal to reduce regional differences.

The 2013 UK LMCs conference last week was set to call for 'a nationally agreed standard of evidence required for GP appraisal in England' to address inconsistencies.

GP leaders reacted angrily at last year's LMCs conference after hearing that the GMC would not set a national standard, leaving PCTs to set appraisal requirements locally.

GPC negotiator and revalidation lead Dr Dean Marshall said he hoped a national revalidation group set up by the GPC would become a forum to agree national appraisal guidelines.

Similar groups in the rest of the UK have helped to deliver standardisation, he said. 'The whole reason for the group is so that we have an agreed level of evidence required and an agreed training system for appraisers.

'Every other country in the UK has a nationally agreed appraisal system, with appraisers trained to a national standard.

'There is a misuse of appraisal as a performance management tool rather than as a tool to ensure that GPs are up to date.'

He said NHS England has agreed to send a representative to the group's next meeting, expected to take place next month.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LMC member Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said the system was a 'mess'.

'GPs just want to know what they have to do,' she said. 'I believe there should be the same evidence required throughout the UK.'

Dr McCarron-Nash said that GPs were worried because they hear different rumours about appraisal, causing anxiety about revalidation.

GP leaders have called for payments to appraisers to continue at last year's levels until national guidance is issued. Funding for appraisers varies from about £400 to £700 across England. Senior GPs warned that standardisation must not be used to cut the fees.

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