GUIDANCE for doctors on how to approach annual appraisals in preparation for revalidation has been published by the GMC.
Two documents have been put together by the regulator explaining the supporting information that doctors should bring to their annual appraisals and the broad areas that appraisals should cover.
The Good Medical Practice Framework for appraisal and revalidation and Supporting information for appraisal and revalidation are intended to help doctors and employers prepare for the launch of revalidation at the end of 2012. Revalidation will require doctors to demonstrate every five years that they are up to date and fit to practise.
The guides are based on the principles set out in the core guidance Good Medical Practice (GMP). The aim is for doctors to discuss how they have met these principles at their annual appraisals.
The GMC has acknowledged problems reported by some doctors taking part in pilots for revalidation who found that mapping their supporting information to the different areas of GMP “felt mechanistic and was both time-consuming and unhelpful.” Under the new guidance, the GMC said doctors will not be expected to do this.
The guidance emphasises the need for doctors to do more than simply collate information.
The regulator states: “In most cases, your appraiser will be interested in what you did with the information and your reflections on that information, not simply that you collected it and maintained it in a portfolio.
“An appraiser will want to know what you think the supporting information says about your practice and how you intend to develop or modify your practice as a result of that reflection. For example, how you responded to a significant event and any changes to your work as a result, rather than the number of significant events that occurred.”
There are six types of supporting information that doctors will be expected to provide and discuss at appraisals at least once in each five year cycle. They will have to produce evidence of continuing professional development, quality improvement activity, significant events, feedback from colleagues and patients, and review of complaints and compliments.
Doctors in specialist practice can seek further advice from their Royal College or faculty, or specialist association. Those in non-clinical roles are advised to seek help from the relevant professional body.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: “We know that the current appraisal system is patchy. We hope that our guidance will introduce greater consistency and ensure that what we are asking doctors to do is realistic and straightforward. We want appraisals to be rewarding and useful, not time-consuming or difficult.”