The RCGP has published principles for GP appraisal to move towards a UK-wide system of revalidation that will be in place by 2010.
The paper sets out how appraisal should be developed and delivered uniformly across the UK to support the re-licensure and recertification of GPs.
Appraisal for GPs was introduced in England in 2002, a year later in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in 2004 in Wales, but a specific UK wide approach has not yet been agreed.
It is envisaged that GPs will prepare a portfolio of evidence over a five year period that will be discussed over five annual appraisals for recertification and re-licensure.
The plan is for detailed proposals to be completed later this year, piloted next year and after refining them, roll these out for implementation in 2010.
These principles will help prepare for work yet to be done by the GMC and the government to make revalidation a reality.
PCTs have responsibility for implementing GP appraisal in England, while in Scotland, it is NHS Education for Scotland, and in Wales, the National Assembly agreed a service level agreement with the deanery to roll it out.
The Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency has a service level agreement to manage the GP appraisal process for each of the four health and social service boards in Northern Ireland.
The RCGP said an appraisal system for GPs across the UK should be underpinned by the generic principles developed by the Academy of Royal Colleges and also include principles such as:
- All doctors on the GP register should be able to demonstrate they meet standards for appraisal.
- Collection of a single portfolio of evidence will serve the purposes of appraisal, re-licensing and recertification.
- Appraisal should lead the doctor to reflect on improving the care they provide to patients.
- Evidence should be mapped against Good Medical Practice and the GP Curriculum.
- The evidence should make clear the context in which the doctor works.
- The evidence must reflect the quality of care which the doctor provides.
- There will be measurable standards of evidence against which assessment can be made.
- Appraisal should be linked to performance management and other aspects of the clinical governance spectrum through a clear and agreed communication protocol.
- There should be an internal system of quality management and an external system of quality assurance of the whole process of appraisal.
- Ongoing local support and development including training of appraisers through RCGP accredited training programmes should regularly occur.