Just as advanced preparation is important for the Appraisee and the Appraiser it is essential that Trust Management personnel are thoroughly prepared to play their part if the appraisal process is to be implemented successfully. We have provided this section of the 'toolkit' to help Trusts to prepare for implementing consultant appraisal. We recognise that there are many demands already on Trust Management but it is important that managers are fully prepared to undertake their responsibilities. This will help the Appraisees and Appraisers have confidence in Management and in the process. It is critical that appraisal is seen as a positive process and not merely another unwanted paper exercise.

We suggest that preparation be considered in three stages - comprehension, review and planning.

Firstly, the Trust Representative should comprehend:

  • the importance of the points raised in the background section as they are the keys to successful appraisal implementation

  • the Consultant Appraisal process, being aware of the responsibilities of everyone involved. Key personnel might find it useful to review this 'appraisal toolkit' from everyone's perspective - appraisee, appraiser and Trust - to develop a management 'overview' of the process and understand everyone's role in it

  • "Appraisal is not a process of assessment that one passes or fails and the new scheme is not about scrutinising doctors to see if they are performing poorly. Appraisal is about helping individuals to improve the way they work and the services they provide, themselves and with others. "

    Appraisal, "offers a framework for planned, constructive, professional dialogue. It provides the opportunity for reflection about current performance and progress. This is used as a platform to set goals for future professional practice and development, which will also contribute to the needs of the organisation in which the individual works."

    "Appraisal should therefore be a positive, constructive process, which is mutually beneficial to both the individuals being appraised and also to the organisation in which they work." (Consultant Appraisal Design Group)

  • the importance of how mutual trust, between appraiser and appraisee, can help to maximise the opportunity to enable the appraisee develop his/her personal and professional effectiveness and development

  • how important it is that the Trust meets its responsibilities in making the appraisal process positive and constructive. This can best be achieved by planning ahead, ensuring the necessary strategies are in place for implementation, and finally communicating effectively with all personnel involved in the process

Secondly, the Trust Representative should review:

  • Consultant Appraisal Scotland - A Brief Guide: this brief guide is about the process of appraisal for consultant doctors in Scotland. It has been produced by the Consultant Appraisal 'Design Group' set up by the Strategic Change Unit of the Scottish Executive and published in January 2002.

  • GMC 'Good Medical Practice: a document that guides doctors to the requirements for maintaining best practice. We suggest you review this document in detail as the content of the appraisal will be partially based on the seven core headings and it should help the appraisee review their role as a doctor.

  • GMC Revalidation Guidance: This guidance summarises the General Medical Council's proposals for the revalidation of doctors' registration. It explains what revalidation is, why it is being introduced, and the provisional proposals for implementation.

  • the Consultant Appraisal documentation, paying particular attention to the types of information/evidence that Appraisees are required to provide in Form 2 and Form 3 and how the Trust might assist with the collection process

Thirdly, when the above two stages have been carried out, we think that the Trust will wish to formulate a Trust plan for managing Consultant Appraisal. This should consider the following points:

  • if the Trust has not done so already, identifying a representative to be responsible for managing the 'Consultant Appraisal' process

  • establishing a Local Steering Group responsible for developing a 'Consultant Appraisal Strategy' and communicating this to all staff concerned

  • considering whether information that is a Trust responsibility will be available to Appraisees to successfully complete their 'Appraisal Folder'. This should be the responsibility of the Local Steering Group. We realise that his may involve some considerable work and take time to arrange. However, if Appraisees cannot provide the necessary evidence for appraisal leading to revalidation in due course, the Trust will have a serious problem on their hands

  • ensuring that all staff are appropriately trained. Appropriate training is being provided by the SCOTS Programme (a collaboration between the Scottish Royal Colleges and NHS Education for Scotland) as part of a national programme of training. Requests to arrange training events in your Trust can be made by contacting:

  • appointing Appraisers and matching them with Appraisees. Remember that mutual trust is essential to the process and the plan should have a 'back-up' in place should an Appraisee request a different Appraiser

  • agreeing 'protected time' and making commensurate adjustments to the service commitments of your Consultants. If appraisal is just viewed as an added administrative burden with no 'protected time' set aside the process is almost guaranteed to fail

  • providing access to the documentation - the Appraisal Forms - required

  • considering how the Trust as a whole is going to:
    • receive and process the Appraisal Forms following interviews
    • analyse the information they contain
    • maintain the necessary confidentiality
    • identify and view recurring 'themes'
    • review the outcomes of the appraisal process
    • identify organisational objectives for the Trust's and transfer these to the organisational development plan
    • action plan to implement new organisational development plan
    • fund the educational development needs of consultants

Remember that the appraisal process is:

  • not a pass/fail situation
  • not about scrutinising doctors to see if they are performing poorly
  • is a developmental process and it is early days yet

But should be about:

  • developing the professional effectiveness of your doctors
  • positive, constructive and planned staff development leading to GMC Revalidation
  • highlighting areas of organisational and personal/professional effectiveness/development
  • Maintaining your doctors' fitness to practice according the GMC's Good Medical Practice and leading towards GMC Revalidation


Annual Appraisal Cycle
Form 1
Form 2
Form 3
Form 5
Form 4
Personal Development Plan
Form 6