Medical appraisal guide (MAG) model appraisal form

The Medical Appraisal Guide Model Appraisal Form (MAG Form) has provided an option as a working appraisal vehicle, given the limited availability of other formats, since the commencement of revalidation in 2014. It has now served its time and NHS England is advising a process of MAG form discontinuation. Doctors currently using the MAG form should agree what appraisal format is acceptable with their responsible officer. To assist, we have published details of known providers of medical appraisal platforms in England.

The revised Medical Appraisal Guide 2022 and associated resources, including a Microsoft Word template, are available on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges website.

During this transition the MAG form temporarily remains available here. Doctors should note that NHS England does not support it nor accept liability for any loss arising from its use. Before completing the form, doctors and appraisers should also review the MAG Form User Guide (NHS England 2016).

Downloading and opening the form

Always download and save the form first before attempting to complete it.

The MAG form is a dynamic, interactive PDF file type (not e.g. MS Word or MS Excel). It can only be opened (with full functionality) in Adobe Reader. You may need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader, if not already available.

If you experience any problems in downloading and/or opening the form, please refer to the following points:

  1. Download and save the form: Right-click on the MAG form link above. Then select ‘Save link as…’ or ‘Save target as…’. Then select the location/folder you wish to save the form in. Go to that location and open the form.
  2. Default PDF reader: Your computer/laptop may attempt to unsuccessfully open the form using its default PDF reader, which may not be Adobe Acrobat Reader. For example, Windows 10 now defaults to Microsoft Edge to read PDF files and Apple Macs default to MacOS Preview. Follow one of the following steps to open the MAG form in Adobe Acrobat Reader instead:
    • Windows 10
      • Go to the folder location you have downloaded and saved the MAG form in. Right-click on the MAG form PDF file icon and select ‘Open with’.
      • To make only the MAG form file open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, select ‘Adobe Reader’.
      • To make all PDF files open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, select ‘Choose default program…’.
      • Select ‘Adobe Acrobat Reader’ and then ensure you tick the box that says ‘Always use this app to open .pdf files’ and click OK.
      • If Adobe Acrobat Reader is not listed, click on ‘Look for an app in the Store’. This will open the Windows Store and you can then search for it.
      • Test opening the MAG form to make sure Windows 10 is now using Adobe Acrobat Reader instead.
    • Apple Mac
      • Go to the folder location you have downloaded and saved the MAG form in. Click the MAG form PDF file icon in the Finder to select it.
      • Select ‘File’ and then ‘Get Info’.
      • Click the triangle next to ‘Open with’ and select ‘Adobe Acrobat Reader’ from the pop-up list (if it is not there, select ‘Choose Other’ to select it.
      • To make all PDF files open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, click on ‘Change All…’
  3. iPads/tablets: This form will not work on an iPad or other tablet computers because they do not yet support the use of interactive pdf documents.
  4. Corruption: On very rare occasions, it is possible for the MAG form itself and/or any supporting evidence documentation uploaded into the form to become corrupted as it is emailed between doctor and appraiser (and vice versa), resulting in the form and/or uploaded documentation not opening. It is advisable, therefore, to regularly save the form with updated version filenames, so that should this happen, a fairly recent version of the form can be used to recover your appraisal form, without the need for extensive additional work to recover it.

Information for designated bodies and organisations

Designated bodies using the form will need to design their appraisal systems locally. This should include describing arrangements for safe and secure storage of the form and its contents, verification of the connection between the doctor and the content of the form and safe and secure transfer of the form and its contents between doctor, appraiser and responsible officer.

Please note that NHS England does not provide technical support for the form, so designated bodies will need to provide both user guidance and IT support to their doctors and appraisers.

Designated bodies wishing to use the form should also read the following guidance for organisations:

Version update

Current version: MAG4.2Form

Please note that version 4.2 of the new MAG4 form replaced version 4.1 in September 2016. This was to fix a minor glitch that occurred in Section 20 where the date of appraisal meeting field had to correlate with the financial year of the appraisal entered into Section 3. Even if a correctly correlating date was entered for the months of July and August, an error message mistakenly appeared, although completion of the form was still possible. Version 4.1 should no longer be used.

Version 4.0 of the new MAG4 form, released in April 2016, was replaced by version 4.1 in July 2016 due to a minor glitch with the lockdown button in Section 21 (whereby the lockdown button did not remain showing as locked once the form had been saved, closed and reopened again (despite it still actually being locked), causing potential confusion on the form’s status). Version 4.0 should no longer be used.

If you experience issues when trying to use the form, please email (although, please note that NHS England does not provide a dedicated resource to assist with MAG form technical issues).