Nine in 10 GPs say appraisal improves patient care

The vast majority of GPs believe annual appraisal helps to improve patient care and is useful for their professional development, a survey of thousands of doctors has found.

GP appraisal (Photo: Steve Debenport/Getty Images)
GP appraisal (Photo: Steve Debenport/Getty Images)

Feedback from more than 13,000 GPs collected through revalidation tools shows that 88% believe their appraisal was useful for improving patient care.

A similar proportion of GPs said appraisal was useful for 'promoting quality improvement in their work', and for personal and professional development.

A report on the findings - Medical appraisal: Feedback from GPs 2018-19 - says that responses from GPs back up 'anecdotal reports that appraisal supports many doctors with challenges in their professional life at a time of recognised pressure on the workforce'.

GP appraisal

The report shows that for most GPs, their actual appraisal lasted between one and three hours - with 43% reporting it took 1-2 hours, and 50% reporting 2-3 hours. Just 1% reported appraisal lasting less than an hour, while 6% reported more than a three-hour duration

However, a number of GPs wrote negative comments about the workload involved in preparing for appraisal - with some questioning whether it was time well spent.

These comments reflect findings from a GPonline survey earlier this year, which showed that two thirds of GPs spend longer than the suggested 50 hours preparing for annual appraisal.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'It is encouraging that such a high number of the GPs who responded to the survey are finding appraisal useful for improving the quality of their work and, crucially, improving patient care.

Bureaucracy

'The college will continue to work with NHS England, the GMC and others and do what we can to continuously improve the appraisal process to ensure that it does not impose additional and unnecessary burdens on hard pressed GPs, and that it is as relevant as possible to our everyday working lives in practice, caring for patients.'

NHS England interim medical director Dr Nikita Kanani said: 'GP appraisals work well for the majority of doctors surveyed which is good news for GPs, and for our patients.

'Helping GPs adjust and improve the support they give, is crucial for patient care and for doctors’ professional development, which is why we’ve worked with GPs to improve the appraisal process, and these latest results show we clearly are moving in the right direction, working with partners to reduce additional burden, with many doctors getting great value from it.'

A review commissioned by the GMC last year found that five years after the launch of revalidation - the five-yearly licensing process into which doctors' annual appraisals feed - the extent to which it had achieved intended outcomes remained unclear.

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