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NHS England to withdraw funding for GP appraisal tool

Exclusive NHS England is to withdraw funding for a GP appraisal tool that was previously paid for by PCTs, Pulse has learnt.

GPs were provided with funding for the toolkit from Clarity Informatics – which costs £50 per doctor – by many PCTs after the health bodies had been tasked with implementing appraisals.

But NHS England told Pulse it took the decision that central funding of appraisal was no longer appropriate, and it would not renew an agreement with Clarity.  

GPC negotiators criticised the decision, saying that engaging with appraisal is a contractual requirement and GPs should receive funding support.

It comes after the RCGP announced last year that it was no longer going to provide a free toolkit for GPs, and it was going to launch a new tool launched alongside Clarity in September, which was to incur a charge.

Many PCTs had funded the original Clarity toolkit in the past, and the agreements had continued until recently.

However, Dr Dean Marshall, a member of the GPC executive committee, said that GPs in Essex, Liverpool and Thames Valley were being told that funding was to be withdrawn.

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He said: ‘Clearly, we’re not happy about this. Every doctor has to engage in appraisal as part of their contract and NHS England should be funding a toolkit to help them to do so. In Scotland they have one which is free to GPs.’

Dr Marshall added: ‘We’re making our views clear to NHS England.’

The Clarity system costs £50 per doctor. GPs have historically been appraised annually, and since 2012 the appraisal process has been used to inform revalidation, which takes place once every five years.

The RCGP said in September that Clarity would ‘enable us to provide members with a sustainable and continuously improving system’ and that the partnership would allow the college’s clinical expertise to inform the design of the product.

An NHS England spokesperson told Pulse that the NHS Revalidation Support Team MAG (Medical Appraisal Guide) model appraisal form remains free on the NHS England home page.