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This figure includes non-doctors and doctors “across a range of specialties”. The assessment team usually comprises two medical assessors and one non-medical assessor.
The Council would not disclose the costs associated with assessors’ activities in 2015.
“While we are committed to appropriate transparency, some individual transactions are commercially sensitive and therefore we will not be releasing information on costs.”
Non-medical assessors are sourced, as with medical assessors, through an open recruitment process and “come from a variety of backgrounds” mainly in healthcare, the allied health professions/organisations.
Last year, 14 doctors were referred for a performance assessment of their practice. In 2014, the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC) referred four doctors for performance assessments.
The Council’s Annual Report for 2015 referred to “risk of damage to reputation of the Medical Council owing to failure to effectively and efficiently utilise performance assessment”.
The regulator would continue to “engage with reviewing and refining the use of performance assessment to ensure an effective, efficient, and proportionate use”.
MI requested data on the outcome of assessments but this was withheld. The Council said that, in general, assessments “will confirm good practice while in those cases where areas for development/remediation are identified, a doctor may be required to follow up with prescribed actions to ensure that their knowledge and skill is maintained to acceptable standards”. Support is provided to the doctor to ensure that problems are safely resolved.
Assessors are provided with training and regular refresher training, said the Council. This encompasses use of the Council’s assessment tools and documentation and appropriate consideration of the context of the practice of the individual being assessed, among other aspects.
No further assessors are being sought at present. “We advise applicants that they would need to be available for a maximum of approximately 15 days annually.”