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Assuming GPs are best appraisers is arrogant

I am appalled by the views expressed by Dr David Martin and Dr Krishna Korlipara in your front-page report 'Nursing staff conduct GP appraisals' (February 10).

What does Dr Martin mean when he says 'You have to ask why those GPs are choosing not to be appraised by another GP'?

We need to be clear about the purpose of appraisal. If it is really about personal development then surely the most important thing is that an appraiser has a background in education and fully understands adult education theory. It is arrogant and highly questionable to assume that just because someone is a GP they have these skills.

Indeed it is our experience that non-GPs bring additional skills and resources with them, and are often more challenging of actions and behaviours that GPs would accept as norms. On the other hand, if appraisal is really about performance monitoring then let's all be clear about this, and stop hiding behind the pretence that it is about personal development.

The literature is full of evidence showing that when appraisal tries to fulfil two psychologically incompatible aims it will achieve neither well. I feel our colleagues at the GMC are settling for short-term expediency.

Dr Korlipara commented: 'Nurses have been trained to be angels of compassion. Now they are used for all kinds of positions.'

He is sexist, elitist and totally at odds with the attitudes of my own practice, and I'm sure those of many other GPs. We work together as a team where skills are mutually complementary and all members are respected. If a nurse has a background in education then why shouldn't we use her skills appropriately?

What worries me most is that both these doctors are representing us on national bodies. They certainly are not representing my views.

Dr Andy Craig


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