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NHS pressure prompts GP appraisal suspension in Covid hot spot

NHS pressure prompts GP appraisal suspension in Covid hot spot

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.

A new system described as more ‘flexible’ and ‘supportive’ to GPs restarted from October, although NHS England recognised that local pressures may mean appraisals could not go ahead.

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.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Scottish GP 5 January, 2021 3:30 pm

How will they cope🙄

Michael Mullineux 5 January, 2021 3:52 pm

30 minutes too long as far as I am concerned

Sonia Chester 5 January, 2021 4:17 pm

Why on earth were they restarted in October as we came into the most challenging winter ever & further Covid 19 waves were a certainty? Also why aren’t they cancelled nationally with immediate effect? Just shows how out of touch NHSE is. Appraisals should be scrapped & replaced with mandatory updates like red whale/NB medical/Pulse courses & an opt in mentoring/support scheme rather than the tick box exercise of old.

Mr Marvellous 5 January, 2021 5:42 pm

But how on earth can we safely treat people without up to date 360 degree appraisals!?!?

They’d be HORRIFIED if they knew…..(not)

Decorum Est 5 January, 2021 11:45 pm

‘Most recently, NHS England said that it would no longer be feasible for appraisals to return during the second spike of the pandemic, even in a more relaxed format.’ 20th Nov’20
DOI – just received (5/1/21) a ‘jolly’ invitation from my appraiser which included:
‘As you may know the GMC recommended re-starting of appraisals since October 2020. This will of course be a supportive appraisal and will give you an opportunity to reflect on the year you have had, a busy one no doubt. Please dont worry too much about paperwork/evidence etc, meeting is most important.’
How should I reply??? (there maybe M&S tokens as a prize but I will have to check with GMC about the acceptability of this prize-giving first).

Slobbering Spaniel 6 January, 2021 9:14 am

My ‘ light touch’ appraisal in December was no different from any other. Same hours of preparation, same clumsy MAG form, same inane discussion over Teams.

Kevlar Cardie 6 January, 2021 10:57 am

I’m not in date for my counter-radicalisation, fire drill and manual handling training .


Patrufini Duffy 6 January, 2021 2:26 pm

You can’t keep hiding and re-packing faeces with decoration. It will smell regardless.

Dave Haddock 8 January, 2021 12:29 pm

Just kill the monster now and cremate the corpse.