Appraisal providers

Attributes of a medical appraisal vehicle, for consideration by appraisal vehicle providers

Medical Appraisal Policy

The current version of the NHS England Medical Appraisal Policy permits a doctor to use any electronic vehicle of their choosing, provided that it is demonstrably in keeping with the Medical Appraisal Guide (MAG) and is also agreed by the relevant NHS England responsible officer.

The format of appraisal, described in the MAG, is the preferred default format for medical appraisal for doctors connected to NHS England. This appraisal format was originally illustrated in the Medical Appraisal Guide: Model Appraisal Form version 3 (‘MAG3’ form), and updated in April 2016 with the publication of the Medical Appraisal Guide Model Appraisal Form version 4 (MAG4 form).

MAG4 and Appraisal Vehicles

NHS England does not endorse, accredit or control any appraisal vehicle provider, and recognises that appraisal vehicle providers must develop and refresh their appraisal products as they see fit.

At the same time, NHS England, which holds prescribed connections to more than 40,000 doctors, has certain requirements, preferences and comments in terms of some aspects of appraisal vehicles used by these doctors. These requirements, preferences and comments are articulated here as information for providers to help them develop products which are in line with the MAG and acceptable to NHS England responsible officers.

NHS England hopes that presenting this list of requirements, preferences and comments will be seen by appraisal vehicle providers as a positive step, as the more closely aligned an appraisal product is with NHS England requirements and preferences, the more likely it will be that NHS England responsible officers will agree to the use of that product by a doctor:


  • NHS England strongly requests that all appraisal providers ensure that their vehicles can produce appraisal documentation which matches the MAG4 ‘Print whole form’ output view (in Section 21 for the MAG4 form) as identically as possible, including the presentation of this in PDF format. This is because NHS England takes the view that the MAG4 ‘Print whole form’ output view is the preferred format for appraisal documentation for uploading to the NHS England Revalidation Management System (RMS). Whichever vehicle a doctor connected to NHS England uses, the appraisal documentation is eventually uploaded to the RMS, normally as a pdf. If the appraisal vehicle does not generate this view automatically, this creates a practical problem for the doctor who may then be expected to reformat it. It is therefore of great assistance to NHS England and the doctor if all appraisal vehicles which serve doctors connected to NHS England are able to generate such a document for each appraisal, which has the same layout and content as the MAG4 ‘Print whole form’ view.


  • NHS England encourages modelling of appraisal products to replicate the MAG4 form as closely as possible both in function and layout at all stages of the appraisal process from preparation to sign-off. This is particularly valued by appraisers who commonly have to learn to switch between a number of different appraisal systems in the course of their work. NHS recognises the need of providers to brand their products such as colour schemes and specific fonts; this in itself does not create a problem for appraisers so much as the issue of function and layout.
  • NHS England encourages providers to avoid embellishment of their appraisal vehicles with unnecessary processes. Examples of these include mapping of items of supporting information to domains and attributes of Good Medical Practice (this was shown in piloting to be unnecessary) and including self-assessment of performance against the domains of Good Medical Practice (this was found by piloting to not add sufficient benefit to justify the burden of effort required). (This last point does not refer to the self-assessment commonly associated with colleague and patient questionnaires.)


  • NHS England has a broadly positive view on appraisal vehicles which provide the facility to complete colleague and patient questionnaires as an additional part of their product. We do, however, observe that providers must ensure these are consistent with GMC requirements, and as much as possible are in line with College guidance and local requirements. NHS England encourages a collective approach between all providers of colleague and patient feedback mechanisms so that the outputs of one colleague and patient feedback mechanism can be compared in a consistent manner with another.

Additional guidance for organisations wanting to use the MAG4 form is also available on the NHS England website, medical revalidation pages.