Getting ahead for Appraisal & Revalidation
Thinking back to my first appraisal I had only been a partner for 8 months and at times it felt like I was drowning. Having to prepare for my appraisal on top of the busy work demands seemed a pain and of course I left it until the last minute. Yet having an hour to sit down and reflect on my professional learning felt useful and I liked planning my development for the year ahead.
In general most of my appraisals were positive experiences. Every year without fail I would vow not to leave it up to the last minute next time and to record my learning as I went along. Of course I never did. I tried using having a Word document on my desktop, an Excel spreadsheet even paper but like joining the gym in January – I didn’t stick at it for more than a few weeks.
For the last 3 years I have been involved in providing appraisal and revalidation tools for doctors and I wanted to develop a tool that could provide a sustainable way of evidencing the learning that takes place every day.
The following are my top tips for getting ahead with appraisals and are based on my experience both as a GP but also from working with appraisal service providers:
Supporting Information & CPD
The key here is of course to try and get into the habit of recording your learning as you go along. There are numerous free and useful tools to do this and free apps. On our site we try to make this really easy by just being able to email firstname.lastname@example.org to capture your learning. It is free to register and use this service as well as using the free iPhone or Android app.
For your appraisal you should aim to have at least one Quality Improvement Activity (QIA) a year. This sounds daunting but just needs to be a piece of work that shows you review and evaluate the quality of work. Examples are case based discussions, Significant event reviews, audits (these don’t have to be in depth work), etc. There is also a significant event area for the supporting evidence for appraisal but this is now really just for significant events where patient harm resulted and you were directly involved rather than being present or learning from a significant event meeting in a practice (which is a QIA as long as you reflect on it).
Reflection is key through out the appraisal evidence. The GP training scheme is now built around reflection so this is nothing new to GPs who have qualified in the last 5-10 years where as for the rest of this this normally means what we see when looking in the mirror. I always used to struggle with this but really all that is required is showing how the learning you have recorded will change your practice. For example I didn’t know xxxxx and from now on I will do xxxxxxx.
For your Revalidation cycle you need to obtain at least one colleague 360 feedback and one patient feedback exercise. This needs to be reflected on and discussed with an appraiser. This should be using a tool that meets the clear GMC criteria and you should have peer benchmarking. There are many tools that help you perform both patient and colleague feedback and as a locum it is accepted that the scores are often lower than if you have a regular place of work so it is worth looking for a tool where your results can be compared to other GP locums. These benchmarked results of course can have so many confounding factors, patient demographic, place of work, roles etc so please don’t get too depressed if your scores are lower than the benchmark but instead use them as a tool to reflect with with your appraiser.
I hope that is useful. I must just also mention a guide that Wessex LMCs produced to support locums through revalidation. It is excellent and was adopted nationally by the BMA: https://www.wessexlmcs.com/revalidationforlocumsorsessionalgps
Dr Duncan Walling