Face to face appraisal remains the preferred approach to optimise the quality of the interaction and develop the most productive professional connection. Consequently, video conference appraisals are not permitted unless permission is sought and granted in writing from the Responsible Officer before the meeting date. Appraisal by telephone (i.e. without video facilities) is not acceptable. NHS England guidance states that ‘technology assisted appraisals’:
- are not normally permitted,
- can only be used on rare occasions ‘where circumstances present insurmountable obstacles to a face to face meeting’ and where a postponement ‘would cause more harm than good’
Geographical aspects alone will not be accepted as reasonable circumstances for an appraisal via video conference.
If you feel your appraisal can only take place via video conference, you should contact the Responsible Officer at the earliest possible date, working with your allocated appraiser to provide the following information:
- Why a face-to-face appraisal meeting cannot be arranged within the three-month appraisal window.
- The earliest date that it is likely a face-to-face appraisal meeting could take place.
- How long you are likely to be abroad (if applicable).
- Whether this issue is likely to arise in future years
Please note that appraisees are responsible for any costs if their appraisal takes place via video conference.
Technology assisted appraisals are a ‘one off’ to manage very exceptional circumstances, so if working abroad and undergoing a face-to-face appraisal meeting is likely to present an ongoing problem, you should seriously consider relinquishing your UK licence since it is not required for work abroad. The process for regaining the licence after voluntarily relinquishing is simple and quick. Further details can be found on the GMC website.
An approved video conference appraisal must take place under the same conditions as a face to face meeting – appraiser and appraisee must book a sufficient amount of time for the meeting and be in a private and quiet environment free from distractions or interruptions. They must also ensure that they have familiarised themselves with the technology before the meeting is scheduled to begin to minimise delays.
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The above policy has been updated to reflect the guidance issued by NHS England in July 2019.