Quality not quantity is key to supporting information GMC tells doctors

Updated guidance published today, Tuesday 17 November, by the General Medical Council advises doctors to focus on quality over quantity when gathering supporting information for appraisals and revalidation.

The Guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation also makes clear that doctors must be allowed enough time to engage with the process, as well as having access to data and systems that allow them to prepare properly.

Regular appraisals are a requirement for revalidation, the process by which doctors demonstrate they are up to date and fit to practise. The guidance clarifies the GMC’s high-level requirements for appraisal, which may differ from those set locally or by medical royal colleges.

Updates in the guidance also include giving doctors greater flexibility to use different tools to obtain patient feedback, such as apps or focus groups. These can help patients provide meaningful feedback in ways that are convenient to them, and follow a consultation carried out by the GMC in 2019*.

"We hope this guidance, along with the flexible approach to revalidation we’ve offered doctors this year , will support doctors in the months ahead."

Blake Dobson

Assistant Director of Revalidation at the GMC

The guidance is for doctors and healthcare providers and supports the re-introduction of medical appraisal which was suspended earlier this year across much of the UK.

It complements the rebalanced approach to appraisal introduced in response to the pandemic, which should focus more on doctors’ wellbeing and development, and emphasises the responsibility of healthcare providers to support their doctors in this context.

Blake Dobson, Assistant Director of Revalidation at the GMC, said: 

‘Collating supporting information for an appraisal shouldn’t be an onerous task. Greater flexibility in how doctors gather feedback, with a focus on quality rather than quantity, should make it simpler.

‘We hope this guidance, along with the flexible approach to revalidation we’ve offered doctors this year, will support doctors in the months ahead.’

The GMC will liaise with responsible officers – senior doctors who make revalidation recommendations to the GMC – to make sure doctors are informed of the updated guidance, and the importance of employers giving doctors enough time to prepare for their appraisals.