Exclusive GP appraisals have been suspended until the end of March in the South East of England ‘in light of very high Covid case numbers’.
GP appraisers in the region were told that the decision comes amid ‘the enormous strain that all acute healthcare services are under’ and ‘the urgency to roll out the vaccination to our vulnerable patient groups’.
An email, seen by Pulse and sent by NHS England South East Region responsible officers and medical directors for system improvement and professional standards Dr Shahed Ahmad and Dr Alison Taylor, went on to urge GPs to participate in the vaccination effort.
The email said: ‘Given the suspension of appraisals over the next three months, we would encourage you to consider supporting the regional Covid vaccination programme, by contacting your local PCN and/or local practices.’
They added that appraisals ‘booked and due to be completed by 5pm on 8/1/2021 are still to go ahead if the appraisee and appraiser agree’. while ‘all other appraisals, either planned or already booked, up to 31 March 2021, will be cancelled on the automated appraisal system and the appraisee will be given an approved missed appraisal for the current appraisal year’.
NHS England put GP appraisals on hold during the first wave of the pandemic last year.
GP leaders, including the RCGP, have called for all GP appraisals to be suspended until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Meanwhile, November saw the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) publish its the response to its much-awaited bureaucracy consultation.
This included eight priority areas for action, including proposals which could see GP appraisals reduced to a 30-minute exercise.