Providing supporting information is an important part of the appraisal process. This will vary between specialties but in general the following are the types of supporting information that all doctors must provide as part of the appraisal, demonstrating that you are keeping up to date, you are fit to practice and regularly reflect on your practice activities.
In order to develop your portfolio of supporting information you will need to address the four domains which cover the spectrum of medical practice, as defined by the GMC. They are:
- Knowledge, skills and performance
- Safety and quality
- Communication, partnership and teamwork
- Maintaining trust
The GMC state specifically that licensed doctors will need to bring a portfolio of supporting information to their appraisal which shows how they are meeting the professional values set out in Good Medical Practice.
Appraisers will be interested in the doctor’s views of how the supporting information provides evidence of their good practice. For example, what does the evidence shown say about their practice and how they plan to develop or modify their practice as a result. GMC guidance tells doctors the six types of supporting information they need to collect and how often they should collect it. Employers will to need to ensure they have clinical governance systems and other types of support in place that can provide doctors with the information they need.
The six types of supporting information that doctors will be expected to provide and discuss at their appraisal are:
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
- Quality improvement activity
- Significant events
- Feedback from colleagues
- Feedback from patients
- Review of complaints and compliments
As stated all doctors undertaking a current appraisal will be expected include supporting information covering these areas. For each area the supporting information relating to your work will be required, and this must reflect your entire scope of practice.
This can sometimes present difficulty if the bulk of your clinical work is in one discipline, with only a small amount of work in another. However guidance has been quite clear about this. If for example you are an NHS GP, and have an ‘NHS appraisal’, any ‘extra’ clinical work you do, for example if you undertook private weigh controlling clinics, will also have to be subject to the appraisal process, and supporting evidence will be required, even for a restricted workload.
How Supporting Information Relates to Revalidation
The information here has been developed to be used to support doctors who are engaging in the current UK revalidation process. This provides every UK doctor with a route to revalidation. The Responsible Officer (RO) will use the annual appraisal document, completed by both the appraiser and the doctor, together with other information from the Designated Body, such as clinical governance reports etc. and the results from previous appraisals, to come to a conclusion as whether the doctor can be recommended for re-validation by the GMC.
In many cases the above process is straight forward, whereby the doctor practices in a specialty that can be covered in its entirety by the appraisal, for example if a GP only is involved with general practice, and a GP appraiser covers this subject in the appraisal. In other examples, particularly in the independent sector, a doctor may be involved in a disparate group of clinical activities, and the appraiser may be unaware of details of the clinical work and clinical governance mechanisms of one or more of that doctor’s specialties. Another example may be where an NHS GP with a special interest in, say aesthetic medicine, may be undertaking a routine NHS appraisal, but the appraiser may have no knowledge of the non GP work, and have difficulty in reporting to the RO with respect to that area of his scope of practice.
It is incumbent on all doctors attending their appraisals to report on all aspects of their scope of practice. Crucially this includes the provision of a sufficient quantity of supporting information, showing their adhering to the GMC code of practice in this particular clinical work.
However during the appraisal process it has often been found that doctors find the collation of appropriate supporting information difficult, particularly in the case of a first appraisal, when the process and the types of approved information are not familiar to the doctor ‘appraisee’. Doctors faced with a dilemma around providing suitable supporting evidence can obtain specific support from their Royal Colleges, who have guidance documents to support their members. Links to the colleges websites can be found by referring to the ‘useful links’ section of this website. In addition this website contains a series of templates and forms that can be cut and pasted to form the basis of the supporting information required for a doctor undertaking appraisal. You will have to decide how to use this resource depend on your personal circumstances. The organisation DAC has had considerable experience in helping doctors find appropriate supporting information in relation to their appraisals. For example we have an archive of various clinical audits that doctors in a wide range of specialties have developed over the last five years. These clinical audits may be used as a template to be used for data relating to your own clinical practice. The subsequent clinical audit can provide robust evidence of good practice, which can be used in the ‘quality improvement’ section of your appraisal form. For more information about collecting supporting information for your appraisal please contact us directly through this website or feel free to speak to our appraisal manager on 07727 893393.