News Items

Top 12 Tips from 2015

Posted Date: 18 Dec 2015

Season's Greetings!

In the past 12 months, we've dealt with nearly 9000 user queries on the helpdesk. Similar to last year, we have come up with a top 12 tip list below, one for every month - we hope you find this useful.

  1. Recognition of Trainers (RoT) Form 7 - what is it?
    • Form 7 is a read-only capture of your submitted RoT form/documents from Form 3, and Appraiser comments on RoT from Form 4. This is accessed by DMEs and EOs who have no other access to SOAR or your appraisal process. More information on Form 7 is available.
  2. If you are not a Trainer - DO NOT complete the RoT form!
    • Even typing in the text boxes "I am not a trainer" will trigger additional sections on Form 4 which we cannot remove without resubmitting. Quite simply, if you are not a Trainer, leave the RoT sections blank.
  3. Appraisal Period is used to track WHEN an appraisal took place within a FISCAL year (April to March).
    • It is expected that at any given appraisal, you will be discussing appraisal materials from the past 12 months / since last appraisal, so the 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.
  4. Do NOT approve / sign off your Form 4 if you are unhappy with the content or if information is missing (e.g. MSF / PSQ, PDP)
    • Nearly 400 queries this year involved the unlocking of Form 4
    • Most of which centres around the need to add MSF or PSQ, which is fine (we simply unlock Form 4 and enable the “Additional Documents” function)
    • But quite a lot involved the amending of PDP items on Form 4, which is more complicated. Most of you think that we can simply unlock the Form 4 and allow the Appraisees to resubmit the appraisal forms. This does NOT work - because when a Form 4 is signed off, all submitted forms/documents are archived and the Appraisee's draft Form 3 is blanked/wiped/reset to allow them to start preparing for next year's appraisal. Therefore if we unlock a Form 4, and the Appraisee resubmits - they will effectively submit a blank set of forms.
    • Whilst there are workarounds (albeit complicated ones), regardless - avoid possible confusions by ensuring you are happy with everything on Form 4 before you sign it off.
  5. 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.
  6. Repeating MSF? Contact us...
    • Our agreement with WASP only permits one MSF Report per user
    • But if you need to repeat your MSF for whatever reason, please get in touch with the helpdesk for further assistance
    • If you are looking to repeat your MSF for your second revalidation cycle, we recommend you do this near the time of your next revalidation date (e.g. within 3 years)
  7. Contacting the Helpdesk
    • You can use the "help" button on SOAR to get in touch; or
    • Email directly to
    • Do NOT reply to old helpdesk tickets when sending in a new request (this reopens old tickets and those who were cc'ed into the tickets before will be cc'ed into your new query); if using email programs like GroupWise or Outlook, make sure you add in your address book so they don't capture the generic reply emails in the frequent contacts instead
    • The helpdesk system on SOAR will probably be changed in the new fiscal year, but so long as you continue to use the help button or the email address above, our change will not impact you.
  8. Ensure your contact details on SOAR are up-to-date
    • This helps in case the admin team or your Appraiser needs to make contact with you
    • With your correct email address, it also ensures that the appropriate automated email reminders (like Form 4) are sent to the right place, and also...
  9. Got locked out over the weekend? Unlock your SOAR account yourself!
    • Provided you have the correct email address on the system, you will be able to unlock your own account if you get locked out over the weekend
  10. Update your bookmarks -
    • Some of you have been in touch saying that certain aspects of SOAR did not work for you, and it's transpired that you had been accessing SOAR via an old out-of-date URL. If you are using, please update to the above address
  11. QIA examples library and other resources
    • On the Medical Appraisal Scotland website, there are a number of different resources available to help support you in the appraisal process. One such resource is our collection of QIA (Quality Improvement Activities) examples. These are real examples submitted by your colleagues (anonymised for data protection).
    • If you would like to contribute to the QIA library - please complete the QIA submission form along with your QIA examples and reflection.
  12. 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 colleagues.

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

We will schedule new WebEx demos of SOAR shortly after the New Year. We will update folks when these are available via the Events page for details and booking.

Holiday Helpdesk Support

Please be aware that from 24th December 2015 onwards, there will only be intermittent SOAR helpdesk support available throughout the festive period. Normal service will resume on 5th January 2016.

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

If you have a query about SOAR, please contact the helpdesk -

Kind regards,

William Liu
Information Manager (Medical Appraisal)


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