Background All general practitioners (GPs) are expected\ud to have an appraisal from 2002 and the first cohort\ud will experience revalidation in 2005. Although there is a\ud link between appraisal and revalidation, this has yet to\ud be clarified. \ud Objective: To investigate the knowledge, attitudes and\ud beliefs of GPs towards revalidation and appraisal.\ud Design: Cross sectional survey.\ud Setting: Lincolnshire, UK.\ud Participants: General practitioners.\ud Method: In 2000 a self-administered postal questionnaire\ud survey was sent to all 343 GP principals on the list\ud of Lincolnshire Health Authority. The questionnaire\ud consisted of 47 attitudinal statements on appraisal and\ud revalidation. It also included open questions on concerns\ud about appraisal and revalidation and questions on\ud attributes of responders.\ud Results: Of the 343 GPs sent questionnaires, 272 (79%)\ud replied. Lincolnshire GPs had more positive attitudes\ud towards appraisal than towards revalidation. They\ud welcomed appraisal provided that it had local ownership\ud and took into account their views and concerns on\ud the process. Other factors that correlated with a positive\ud attitude towards appraisal included agreement that the\ud purpose of appraisal is educational and that it should\ud result in an agreed development plan. Those who had a\ud positive view of appraisal were more likely to agree set\ud objectives. Previous experience of appraisal either as an\ud appraiser or appraisee was associated with a positive\ud attitude towards appraisal. General practitioners who\ud felt they had more control over the process tended to be\ud more positive. General practitioners who were in favour\ud of appraisal were also more likely to be in favour of\ud revalidation and agree that appraisal formed part of the\ud revalidation process. They were less likely to feel that\ud there was a hidden agenda on the part of government\ud and more likely to agree that revalidation would provide\ud evidence of acceptable care being provided to patients.\ud Time involved and lack of resources were the two main\ud concerns.\ud Conclusions: A better understanding of knowledge,\ud beliefs and attitudes towards appraisal will ultimately\ud help in setting up a successful appraisal system for GPs.\ud The current emphasis on appraisal as an educational\ud tool will help to foster positive attitudes. The relationship between appraisal and revalidation needs to be\ud clarified. Concerns relating to lack of time and resources\ud for appraisal and revalidation need to be addressed by primary care organisations
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