This article reflects the conversations in the breakout group on this topic at the Recently Appointed Consultants symposium on Friday 13 March 2015.


There has been a standardisation of the format and content of appraisals and all are now “enhanced appraisals” suitable for revalidation purposes. Appraisal should be a reflection of events and activities over the past year and it should include case-based discussion. Topics to be covered include audit, significant events, CPD, morbidity and mortality meetings, and outcomes data or proxy measures where available. The aim of the appraiser is to provide advice and guidance to help improvements and aid development. It can be helpful for the appraisee to consider ideas for their personal development plan prior to the meeting. The personal development plan might contain personal, departmental and organisational objectives.

Appraisal is not designed as a mechanism for dealing with poor performance. Ideally performance issues will be picked up and action taken in parallel to the appraisal which should be developmental.

To ensure the smooth running of your appraisal, regularly collect relevant documents to provide as evidence for discussion. Documents can include CPD certificates, outcomes data and activity information.  The Scottish Online Appraisal Resource (SOAR) is an online administration tool that can be accessed by both appraisers and appraisees for sharing appraisal evidence and creating Form 4. It should be used prior to an appraisal to upload documents in advance. The resource can also help to inform on the types of evidence expected. There is excellent guidance on what to include on the system itself and Colleges also provide good advice on information to include in you appraisal evidence.  

The Medical Appraiser Scheme in Scotland offers training for appraisers.

Web resources/further reading:

Breakout group leader:  Dr Alastair Cook, Director of Medical Education, NHS Lanarkshire