GMC required Appraisals

This post is to help you understand appraisals and how to prepare adequately. You have probably had appraisals in the past, where you discussed some predetermined key performance indicators with your manager. The appraisals for doctors practicing in the UK is a bit different for a few reasons. The first and most important is that a good outcome from your appraisal adds to the recommendation by your appraiser, that the GMC allow you to retain your license to practice. Appraisals are annual, revalidation comes around every five years. The second way appraisals differ, is that the onus is on you to either provide evidence or ensure the evidence is available. Another thing to point out is that when you have your second appraisal, your appraiser will need to review your previous one.

Now let’s start from the beginning. You have started a new job, what do you need to do about appraisals? At the beginning, it’s almost going to be impossible to learn anything about appraisals. You’ll be having inductions, shadowing people, learning the ropes. By the 6th to the 8th week you should be settled down enough to ask who your appraiser is, what appraisal date has been assigned, what website is used for appraisals and how you can access it.

As usual I digress. My first appraisal was a disaster for many reasons which I will of course share. Just as disasters often leave beautiful things in their wake, it did as well. In planning for your appraisal, you have to contact your appraiser to plan a suitable date and time. You also have to complete your appraisal portfolio in good time so they can review it before your meeting. I did not know how to complete the portfolio, I did not know I had to schedule this meeting, I had maternity leave planned so I had to squeeze it in before I left. Thankfully, my consultant was a legend and supported me to make sure the process was a success. After sharing some tips, I’ll tell you about the beautiful outcome of the appraisal.

Continuous professional development

This includes all activities that add to your professional growth. Document attendance of morbidity and mortality meetings, handover meetings, journal club meetings etc.

Mandatory Trainings

Your organisation will have a list of trainings you must complete in your role. This will be things like safe guarding, information governance, thrombprophylaxis, ensure that you have completed all of these and that the evidence is uploaded to your portfolio.

Clinical Governance

This includes activities like audits and quality improvement projects. On arrival, you should mention to your bosses that you’re keen to participate in audits and quality improvement projects. By your third month, you should have worked out which of your bosses are approachable and be sure you either start an audit with their blessing or join a project they’re already working on.

Complaints and Compliments

Sadly, if a complaint is made against you, this must form part of your appraisal. There is a section for a written reflection on what you’ve learnt from that episode. The good thing is you also get to document compliments. These are probably harder to come by in writing. I work in an acute care setting and it is a challenge to get written feedback from patients. Written feedback is important because you need to collect a number over the five years that build up to your revalidation. For revalidation, there are structured forms to use. For your annual appraisal, it becomes a bit more tricky. A senior colleague shared this piece of advice with me. I have not tried it yet, but I think it’s a good idea. He recommended, that if a patient gives you good verbal feedback, you ask them politely of they wouldn’t mind putting it in writing.


A high emphasis is placed on teaching and you can give examples of times when you’ve taught on the ward in your portfolio. It is more valuable to have evidence of your teaching. This is usually in the form of feedback forms. There will be opportunities like foundation teaching, teaching other health care professionals etc. Find out what is available and participate. It can sometimes feel like making high jumps to do these things. You will be glad you did them in the end.

The things that are required for appraisals tend to be the same things that you will need to add to your portfolio for training applications, align them so the same effort yields the maximal results.

Back to my story. During my first appraisal, my consultant took his time to break down everything I needed to know and how I could go about getting them. I was so clueless, that I hadn’t even added the things I’d done. The outcome of my first appraisal was that I was new to the system and would get better as time went on.
I returned from maternity leave ready to take on the system with my new level of understanding. Within four months, I completed two audits and presented a quality improvement project at a regional meeting. Within 6 months of my first job, I had completed an audit cycle, done a quality improvement project and created a disease management pathway. The outcome of my second appraisal was; shows a clear understanding of the system and has exceeded expectations.
I would like for your first appraisal to be like my second. That’s why I’ve shared this. If you have any questions, I’d love to help.

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