GP appraisers will be paid a standardised fee of £500 per appraisal from 1 April next year, NHS England has announced.
NHS England has confirmed the standard fee, despite appraisers in some areas earning up to £1,000 per appraisal and appraisers taking on extra responsibilities under new revalidation procedures.
The GPC says the fee may mean some GPs no longer consider it worthwhile to be appraisers and encourage some to ‘walk away’.
The new ‘standardised’ fee will come into force from April 1 next year, NHS England deputy medical director Dr Mike Bewick said in a letter to responsible officers sent in May.
He said: ‘NHS England believes a fair level of remuneration for appraisers is £500 per appraisal (gross income including travel, training and supervision and exclusive of VAT where applicable), with an additional amount of £70 for employer on costs (NI, PAYE and superannuation).
‘ROs should make reasonable efforts to move towards this standardised approach at the earliest opportunity and certainly no later than 1 April 2014.’
But GPC negotiator Dr Dean Marshall said that this would be a big cut for some appraisers – as some earn up to 1,000 currently -and may lead to non-GPs carrying out appraisals.
Dr Marshall said: ‘We already have anecdotal reports that people doing appraisals are not GPs – and this is a huge mistake. For some GPs the £500 fee will be more than they are getting now, but for others it will be less.
‘Now that appraisals are part of revalidation some GPs might not want to be appraisers because they won’t want to get caught up in arguments over GPs that are not considered acceptable for revalidation. It’s likely some people doing appraisals will walk away.’
Meanwhile, LMCs are reporting that some GPs who carry out appraisals are finding it difficult to cope with the requirements for revalidation.
Cambridgeshire LMCs chief executive Dr Guy Watkins said there were ‘many unhappy appraisers’ who were finding it difficult to ‘meet the requirements around revalidation’.
Dr Bewick also confirmed in the letter that NHS England would end the practice of paying locums for undergoing an appraisal, apart from ‘exceptional cases’.
He said: ‘It is NHS England’s view that direct payment to locums undergoing appraisal can no longer be supported. It is now every doctors’ professional responsibility to undergo appraisal as part of revalidation. In exceptional cases, area teams, in cooperation with local practices, may support individual doctors where particular hardship is demonstrated.’