North East Pilot of Professional Appraisal

By Dr David Chappel, Consultant in Public Health (Workforce), Public Health England

PHE ran a pilot in North East England from March 2016 to April 2017 to bring all UKPHR registrants in Local Authorities into the PHE medical appraisal system using trained appraisers, and move people to the same software (“PReP” initially and later “SARD”).  The North East was chosen because: (a) a high proportion of consultants are UKPHR registered (80%) and there were increasing concerns about equity; (b) many were already using the “MAG” form for professional appraisal; and (c) it is a small region – only 24 DsPH and Consultants (19 registered with UKPHR) in 12 Local Authorities.

Training took place in April 2016 so there was a greater understanding of the system, and some new appraisers to help manage it.  Of the 19 specialists only one declined to take part.  Six left their posts during this period (two to PHE) but these all had an appraisal. Of the remaining 12, nine completed in that year and are now in an annual cycle, three needed more time to engage. 

Feedback from appraisers and appraisees was mostly positive.  Appraisees generally found the process constructive, positive and supportive.  But some also noted its complexity, found it time-consuming and several felt it was ‘medically focussed’ and had some overlap with FPH CPD requirements.  PHE is continuing to provide a similar level of support after the end of the pilot.

The pilot was primarily to help PHE develop a plan for rolling out the professional appraisal system across England, which will start to happen over the coming year.  It recommended the need to encompass all those on the UKPHR with a similar relationship to PHE as those doctors who relate to the Responsible Officer (e.g. UKPHR registrants in Universities who hold honorary PHE contracts).  The pilot also provided information for UKPHR in their own planning for revalidation, which should be introduced later in the year.