ROAN information sheet 41: Selection of appraisal format for doctors connected to NHS England and NHS Improvement

The NHS England Medical Appraisal policy states that a doctor connected to NHS England may undertake appraisal in any format that is ‘demonstrably in keeping’ with the Medical Appraisal Guide (originally published 2013, updated 2014 and 2020). The MAG model appraisal form (‘MAG form’) was developed to illustrate the specification for this and to act as a useable form while the marketplace of online providers evolved. Significant numbers of doctors opted to use the MAG form as a straightforward way to ensure they were meeting requirements. This also suited appraisal offices and appraisers who became familiar with the format.

Appraisal toolkit providers have continued to invest in their products, and the marketplace has now matured, resulting in products that are increasingly more useful than the MAG form, which by comparison has not kept pace with the commercial market. They often provide added functionality, for example CPD recording ‘on the move’ and options for patient and colleague feedback. They have also adapted to changes to the appraisal process in a way that the MAG form could not. This has been highlighted by the Appraisal 2020 model, with feedback from appraisers and doctors is that it is more difficult for those using the MAG form to adopt the new format.

Colleagues in NHS England Professional Standards offices are therefore encouraged to remind doctors of the choice set out in the NHS England Medical Appraisal Policy and reassure them that it is acceptable (and may now be advantageous) to use a suitable online provider instead of the MAG form.

It remains the responsibility of the doctor to present their appraisal in a suitable format and NHS England and Improvement does not endorse or recommend any specific appraisal platform. However, Professional Standards offices now have significant experience of many of the products that are available so are in a good position to provide you with contact details of providers if required.

This information sheet is relevant primarily to NHS England responsible officers but may be of interest to other designated bodies in England.

Released May 2021.