Five steps to success

Responsible officers are expected to make recommendations on around 60% of licensed doctors by the end of March 2015. These five steps are designed to help responsible officers prepare the ground for a smooth path to recommendations for doctors.

Step 1: Know who is due a recommendation

Know who is on your list and who is due a recommendation and when. Your list should match that which the General Medical Council (GMC) holds against your name on GMC Connect.

Make sure you have up-to-date contact details for these doctors.

Remember that changes to this list can be made at either end. Check that the email address registered for your organisation on GMC Connect is active, so you can receive notification of changes to your list made by the GMC.

Step 2: Make sure you have sufficient numbers of revalidation-trained appraisers

All appraisers will need to have received suitable revalidation training. Sample training materials for current and new appraisers are available here

Step 3: Communicate with your doctors regularly

Make sure your doctors understand that they need to prepare for their appraisal and revalidation throughout the year, rather than leaving it to the last minute. For example, it might be challenging to complete a patient and colleague feedback exercise in less than a six-week period (consider giving 4-months notification).

Many may be anxious about going through the process for the first time, so it’s important they understand the GMC’s requirements for the first cycle. For example, the guidance states that they only need to have completed at least one appraisal with Good Medical Practice as its focus and can use evidence of patient and colleague feedback obtained up to five years before a revalidation recommendation is made, as long as it’s relevant to their current scope of practice.

Step 4: Check the appraisal outputs

Make sure that the appraisal outputs comprise: the appraisal summary, a new personal development plan (PDP), and the appraiser’s statements (as listed in the RST’s Medical Appraisal Guide)

It is also important to check that the appraiser’s statements are consistent with the paperwork submitted.

The MAG Model Appraisal Form is a simple, thoroughly-tested tool for ensuring the essential aspects of appraisal are covered.

Step 5: Remember to engage the disengaged

As you prepare your doctors and appraisers and check their progress through the process, make sure you don’t just concentrate on the ‘low-hanging fruit’. Make sure someone on your team is checking for doctors who do not respond so you can address this without having to request a last minute deferral.

Whilst your focus will be on doctors due for a revalidation recommendation in 2014/15, you may also wish to prepare the ground for doctors who are due for a recommendation in 2015/16 and beyond by ensuring that all doctors are engaging fully in the process.