The paper reflects on the experiences of a primary care trust in developing an appraisal programme. The initial objective was to utilise the positive opportunities of appraisal, in supporting both the individual general practitioner development and, as a positive consequence, the enhancement of local service delivery. The paper outlines the local approach, with the development of the personal development review (PDR) and details the experiences within Year 1, with the high level of uptake by local GPs, and reflects on the further progression of the programme in Year 2 and Year 3, with the impact of the updated national guidance and the anticipated linkage of appraisal to fitness to practise and revalidation. The paper details the objectives underpinning the local appraisal programme and reflects on what factors have contributed to the success to date. The developmental role of appraisal and its link to revalidation and registration are now perhaps less clear than they were a year ago. Further guidance is awaited to appropriately support the next step with regard to local appraisal programmes and their facilitation of individual GP development and, as a positive consequence, local service improvement and their appropriate links to the anticipated national revalidation process.
Paul Twomey, Keith Collett