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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Two-hour hostage ordeal drives GP to sell partnership

Appraisal is at risk of being 'hijacked' by revalidation, warn leaders of two separate studies.

Dr Agnes McKnight, who interviewed 20 GPs, said undue emphasis on competence meant GPs viewed appraisal as a form of performance management and may encourage 'economy with the truth'.

Dr McKnight, director of GP education at the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency, added: 'Appraisal is not intended to identify poor performance but to help people perform better. If you set it up for revalidation people are not going to be honest and identify their needs and weaknesses.'

Dr Brian McKinstry, who interviewed 46 GPs, said doctors may hide performance or health problems if they believed appraisal was linked to revalidation.

Dr McKinstry, a GP in West Lothian and and senior researcher in community health sciences at the University of Edinburgh, warned appraisal could also be undermined where there was a 'power differential' between appraiser and appraised ­ for example if a senior partner appraises a GP in the same practice.

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