News Items

Top 12 Tips from 2014

Posted Date: 17 Dec 2014

In the past 12 months, we have dealt with over 12,000 user queries on the helpdesk. We have come up with a top 12 tips list below, one for every month - we hope you find this useful.

  1. Appraisal Period is used to track WHEN an appraisal took place within a FISCAL year (April to March).
    • It is expected at any given appraisal, you will be discussing appraisal materials from the past 12 months / since last appraisal, so period of materials reviewing is not important. We need to track when the interview took place so we can report to the likes of the GMC, Scottish Government, HIS, etc that X number of doctors were appraised in any given fiscal year.
    • If you think your Appraisal Period on your appraisal history is wrong, please contact the helpdesk for assistance and investigation.
  2. Your Responsible Officer (RO) is the Medical Director of your host board.
  3. Your host board should be the Health Board in which you do the majority of your work, NOT where you live.
    • For Trainee Doctors, your host board is NHS Education for Scotland (NES).
  4. Incorrect Appraiser?  Contact your local Admin team in the first instance!
    • Appraiser / Appraisee allocation is organised locally at Health Board level, we have no involvement with this. The local Admin teams can assist you further with this.
  5. You should organise your MSF report at least 4-6 weeks ahead of your appraisal meeting.
    • If you are using the WASP system to conduct your MSF, please be aware that you need to give the process at least 3 weeks to conclude (although we can close off the MSF report early if that's a requirement); and
    • You must have received at least 8 rater-responses; and you must have completed your self assessment questionnaire for the comparable data aspects of the MSF Report.
  6. The 0/1 scoring of Core Elements in Form 4 Domains: "1" means acceptable supporting information was submitted, or appropriate discussion was had over absence / lack of supporting information; if "0" was scored by the Appraiser, it is flagged for the RO's attention and will impact on the Appraisee's revalidation.
    • In a typical appraisal, we would expect the Appraisees to have presented supporting information in all four Domains, against each of the Core Elements - apart from MSF and PSQ (Patient Survey Questionnaire) where these are only required once in a 5-year Revalidation cycle.
  7. If you submitted an MSF or PSQ for Domain 3, it also counts as supporting information for Domain 2.
  8. Appraisal is an annual process - you can have multiple meetings, but only one appraisal Form 4 will be agreed to cover all the discussions.
    • Remember, you are meant to discuss the entirety of your work at the appraisal.
  9. Revalidation is a process that happens in the background in parallel to Appraisal. Unless requested by your RO or Appraisal Lead, there is nothing you need to do in addition to your annual appraisal processes.
  10. Form 5A (Exemption from Appraisal) and Form 5B (Non-engagement of Appraisal) are used in lieu of Form 4 (Summary of Appraisal).
    • If a Form 5A was generated, but the Appraisee returns to work and it is deemed appropriate to have an appraisal before the end of the appraisal/fiscal period, then the Form 5A should be removed/unlocked. The time off can be documented in the declaration pages as appropriate.
  11. Appraisal is NOT a tickbox exercise, it is a professional process with a peer - don't leave it until the last minute!
    • This will cause YOU problems and is at best discourteous to your colleague.
  12. Leaving Scotland?  No longer using SOAR?  Make sure you inform your Health Board AND the GMC of your change!
    • If you are moving away from Scotland and no longer using SOAR, it is important that you update the GMC with the name of your new Designated Body and Responsible Officer for revalidation. You will need to log on to GMC Online to do this. However, please do not do make any changes BEFORE your official start date in your new post.
    • Also, you may wish to take copies of your relevant documentation (e.g. PDF of Form 4's) before we archive your SOAR account.

As ever, if you have any queries or feedback on SOAR, please send them to the helpdesk –

We have also scheduled new weekly WebEx demos of SOAR for January to April 2015, visit the Events page for details and booking.

Holiday Helpdesk Support

Please be aware that from 24th December 2014 onwards, there will only be intermittent SOAR helpdesk available throughout the festive period. Normal service will resume on 5th January 2015.

And finally, from the NES Medical Appraisal Scotland team, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


This page was last updated on: 04/12/2017