Medical appraisal is now a universal process for the profession, supporting accountability, professional development and patient care. It is important that the standard of medical appraisal across England is as uniform as possible so that all doctors benefit from a similar experience and level of review. In order to achieve this it is necessary to benchmark and quality assure the process. Systems are being developed to standardise managerial and administrative processes. Responsible officer (RO) and appraisal lead networks (as part of the national appraisal network) also contribute to benchmarking. The insight provided by this quality assurance process also aids the responsible officer in the support of the development of the medical appraisal programme.
The key to standardising the quality of appraisal is to develop and quality assure the work of appraisers across England. This work is usually led by the appraisal leads and supported by the appraisal/revalidation administrator and managers in individual designated bodies (DBs).
Annex J (routine appraiser assurance tools) of the revised NHS England Medical Appraisal Policy offers guidance for appraiser quality assurance:
Annex J includes the following documents:
- The medical appraisal feedback questionnaire
- The appraiser assurance review template
- The appraisal summary preparatory notes template
- The appraisal summary and PDP audit tool
Quality assurance starts at the appointment of appraisers and continues with their training, development, audit of their work and at one to one reviews.
Quality assurance of appraisal: guidance notes (NHS England, 2016) aims to put a framework around these tools in terms of their use and the processes which support that.
The majority of this document is intended to be relevant to all designated bodies in England, and this is indicated by a paragraph denoting ‘recommendation for all designated bodies’. Recommendations for specific designated bodies such as NHS England are noted as such, and the relevant sections are printed in blue. This paper is of particular importance to responsible officers, appraisal leads, appraisal managers, clinical governance, information governance, appraisal administrators and appraisers. It will also be of interest to patient and public representatives and other groups with an interest in the quality of healthcare.