Appraisal awareness pays
Posted on 27 November 2012 by BMA employment relations team
If doctors are to get the most out of their appraisals, it is vital they are given the means to prepare for and complete them.
For locum GPs, funding responsibility in England clearly lies with PCTs.
Department of Health guidance for England from 2004 refers to PCTs needing to agree ‘the precise details of payments to appraisers as well as those to locums in the case of their appraisee costs. In doing so, PCTs should ensure that the appraisal contributions made are fair and equitable for all GPs’.
For those working sessionally, time is money, and they need to be compensated for time undertaking appraisal work which could be spent earning money in surgeries.
But there may be a number of locum GPs who do not realise this. Much more surprisingly, at least one PCT did not know it either. One locum GP contacted the BMA after undergoing two appraisals without any funding or compensation for loss of earnings.
After that, she had seen some BMA guidance, and realised she was eligible, and we took up the case on her behalf. The guidance was too clear for the PCT to argue with, although it still took a degree of persistence and familiarity with PCT structures, as it passed through the hands of several individuals and two committees.
It took four months from us being referred the case to having confirmation that the PCT would pay a nominal fee of £200 for locum GP appraisal from 2010 onwards. There may well be other PCTs that do not have reimbursement schemes, or schemes in place of which locum GPs are unaware. Salaried GPs also need to ensure that they are properly resourced to prepare for appraisals.
In their case, general and personal medical services practices in England receive an element of funding from PCTs to cover the costs. Normally, salaried GPs should be allowed protected time to prepare for and undertake appraisal during their normal working hours. They should be able to discuss with their practice managers an appropriate amount of time — we estimate around two sessions.
However, if they are asked to undertake appraisal in their own time, then this is acceptable provided that the salaried GP agrees, and they are adequately compensated. We recommend that the level of payment is agreed between the two parties in advance.
A properly conducted appraisal is important to doctors, and likely to be more so, given how it is likely to knit in with revalidation. No doctors should lose out financially for taking time to prepare and undertake them.