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by Our manager in practice
3 December 2007

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Let us appraise – organising performance reviews

A few blogs ago, I wrote about continuing education and how we managers seem to neglect our needs. Well, I’ve made some conscious steps towards rectifying this – by having an appraisal!

How many of you managers out there have a regular appraisal? Who undertakes this with you? And is it appraisal or performance review? Or both?

Up until a few years ago, I had a regular appraisal/performance review, usually with two or three of the partners. We normally set some clear objectives and these were linked to performance related pay; we also looked at my development needs.

Then I was offered partnership and, after some discussion and thought, I joined the partnership. All of us forgot about appraisals foir a while, although it was at the back of my mind.

Then one of the partners (a trainer) brought the subject up at a practice meeting. There followed a fairly robust discussion, as there were several opposing views.

Some thought we should carry on as before, and some queried this. The clinical partners are not appraised by their fellow partners, so why should the nonclinical partner? But if not by the fellow partners, then how to do this? And what about performance review?

It was decided (amicably as always) that I should explore how and with whom I could undertake an appraisal – and that this should be funded by the partnership.

On performance review, it was felt that we review each others’ work constantly through various mechanisms in the practice, such as meetings, significant event and financial reports, etc –  and none of the clinical partners wanted to have a “structured” performance review!

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I approached a training consultant of my acquaintance (who had previously worked as a practice manager) and discussed the possibility. We agreed to give it a go and devised a format similar to the doctors’ appraisal.

We also included a section to include/reflect on the management competencies as laid out in the nGMS contract. I then understood what a task it is to prepare for this – such a lot more that the appraisal I had done before!

The upshot is that I had my appraisal this week – all three-and- a-half hours of it! It was a thoroughly worthwhile exercise. I now have a clear development plan for my educational needs.

Just as important, I was able to look at how I work, my priorities and how I might change, with the help of a fresh pair of eyes. Now I just have to do what I said I would and get the education sorted out!

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“Appraisal is absolutely essential – it is the “what sort” that is the variable and it need not be a complicated business. Common sense should tell us that no one, but no one should fill any role without having the opportunity for two-way communication, formally, at least once a year” – David Shields, Durham