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Most GPs say work appraisal helps them improve patient care

Performance review also boosts personal development, survey responses show

Caroline White

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Nine out of 10 GPs say that their annual work appraisal, where their performance is reviewed by a senior doctor, has helped them to improve patient care in line with the NHS Long Term Plan, reveals an analysis* of feedback from more than 13,000 family doctors.

An annual appraisal of the care they provide has helped them to promote safety and quality improvement, as well as boosting their own personal development, the responses show.

Focusing on key indicators of patient care, such as the number of prescriptions written, new cancer cases identified, and vaccine uptake – and comparing themselves with other doctors and benchmark data ─ GPs are able to make changes to patient care.

Based on feedback from more than one in three of the GP workforce, the findings show that most (91%) of those surveyed said their appraisal was useful for promoting quality improvement in their work.

A similar proportion (88%) said the appraisal was useful for improving patient care; while 89% felt it was useful for both personal and professional development.

London GP Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England and Improvement interim medical director for primary care, commented: “GP appraisals work well for the majority of doctors surveyed which is good news for GPs, and for our patients, whose care and treatment will be improved as we deliver our Long Term Plan.

“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.”

Positive feedback from doctors included: “Without appraiser support, I would not have continued working” and “I am refreshed and ready for the next 12 months and inspired for ongoing career development.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, 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.

“The College will continue to work with NHS England, the GMC [General Medical Council] 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.”

An appraisal is part of the requirements for professional revalidation, and requires the doctor to prepare a portfolio of supporting information for discussion in the appraisal meeting.

The doctor is also encouraged to list his/her achievements and challenges, on the basis of which they and their appraiser agree their professional development plan for the forthcoming year.


*Medical appraisal: feedback from GPs in 2018-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement, June 2019.

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