Revalidation fears could trigger walk-out by GP appraisers

A 'significant number' of GP appraisers could step down over fears that revalidation will change the nature of appraisal, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Marshall: primary care organisations have underestimated the scale of the potential drop-out.
Dr Marshall: primary care organisations have underestimated the scale of the potential drop-out.

The loss could leave the NHS facing a shortage of appraisers just as revalidation is rolled out at the end of 2012.

GPC Scotland chairman and GPC revalidation lead Dr Dean Marshall said there could be a ‘significant drop-out’ of GP appraisers, as revalidation changed ‘the very nature’ of appraisal.

Many appraisers were likely to quit due to concerns that their new role gave them too much influence over fitness to practise decisions, he said.

‘There is a feeling that they are now moving from a position where they are able to support doctors to making decisions which could have adverse affects,’ he said.

Adding to these concerns is the lack of clear information appraisers are receiving about revalidation, Dr Marshall said.

‘There are lots of different people going around saying different things. This is where a lot of the concerns come from.’

Dr Marshall added that primary care organisations had underestimated the scale of the potential drop-out.

Following a Manchester LMC revalidation conference, LMC member Dr Faizan Ahmed said Dr Marshall’s fears were echoed in Manchester.

‘What we’re finding is that a lot of appraisers are disenchanted with the system and do not want to appraise.

‘Appraisal used to be a very supportive measure, more recently it has been a tool to bash with,’ he said.

West Pennine LMC secretary and GP appraiser Dr Alan Dow said enhanced appraisals, instigated by PCTs in preparation for revalidation, could also contribute to falling appraiser numbers.

‘If an area set a standard of appraisal above the bar – how could appraisers be happy?’ he said. ‘You will see appraisers saying this isn’t the job that we signed up for.’

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