Appraisal: experiences, attitudes and impact. An evaluation of the appraisal process for general practitioners in England

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Background Appraisal is a relatively new process for doctors and evaluation serves to inform its future development.

Aim To evaluate the experience of, attitudes to, and impact of, appraisal for general practitioners.

Design of study A qualitative survey.

Setting Three strategic health authorities in England.

Methods Semi-structured telephone interview with PCT appraisal leads, appraisers and appraisees, selected by a process of invitation.

Results Participants found the appraisal process well designed, and appreciated the support, encouragement and opportunity to reflect on professional practice that it allows. Appraisees felt it gave structure and focus to their professional development. However, difficulties were highlighted in making time for appraisal in busy professional lives. There was some confusion amongst appraisees about the purpose of appraisal. The potential for change as a result of appraisal was identified, but the perceived likely impact on practice was less clear at this early stage of the process.

Conclusion In this study evaluating appraisal of general practitioners, the need to reiterate the purpose of appraisal, ongoing commitment to development of the process, and the need for quality assurance were highlighted. Further research is needed to identify and quantify changes in professional practice arising from appraisal.


Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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