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Med Educ. 2001 Dec;35 Suppl 1:9-19.

The General Medical Council's Performance Procedures: peer review of performance in the workplace.

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  • 1Centre for Health Informatics and Medical Education (CHIME), Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.


The General Medical Council procedures to assess the performance of doctors who may be seriously deficient include peer review of the doctor's practice at the workplace and tests of competence and skills. Peer reviews are conducted by three trained assessors, two from the same speciality as the doctor being assessed, with one lay assessor. The doctor completes a portfolio to describe his/her training, experience, the circumstances of practice and self rate his/her competence and familiarity in dealing with the common problems of his/her own discipline. The assessment includes a review of the doctor's medical records; discussion of cases selected from these records; observation of consultations for clinicians, or of relevant activities in non-clinicians; a tour of the doctor's workplace; interviews with at least 12 third parties (five nominated by the doctor); and structured interviews with the doctor. The content and structure of the peer review are designed to assess the doctor against the standards defined in Good Medical Practice, as applied to the doctor's speciality. The assessment methods are based on validated instruments and gather 700-1000 judgements on each doctor. Early experience of the peer review visits has confirmed their feasibility and effectiveness.

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