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Assessment and intervention

Our assessments help to clarify and understand the performance of individual practitioners, and provide the healthcare organisation and practitioner with a sound basis upon which to bring the case towards a resolution.

Our assessments are aimed at:

  • supporting the implementation of evidence-based, timely and fair management solutions to resolve concerns about performance
  • enabling practitioners to return to safe and effective practice, where appropriate
  • helping to ensure public protection and patient safety

The exact type of assessment we carry out will be dependent on the exact circumstances of the case. The types of assessment we carry out include the following:

Full performance assessment

This is our most comprehensive intervention, which provides a definitive view on the overall standard of an individual practitioner’s performance across their scope of practice, as well as identifying any factors which may be contributing to concerns about the individual’s practice. This intervention is particularly valuable where the reported concerns are wide-ranging, complex and/or longstanding, or for cases where the extent of the concerns and possible underlying causes require clarification.

Our full performance assessment includes an assessment of the practitioner’s health, an assessment of behaviours, multi-source feedback, and a detailed workplace-based assessment of clinical practice based on direct observation, a review of clinical records, and a case based assessment, all of which are conducted by a trained team of clinical and lay assessors. We consider not just the practitioner’s standard of clinical practice but also their working environment and how this may be influencing their performance.

The result is a comprehensive report with robust, evidence-based findings and conclusions in respect of the individual’s practice, which provide the basis for a clear way forward to bring the case towards a resolution.

The validity and reliability of the assessment rests on wide sampling across a practitioner’s work, using a range of assessment instruments and multiple assessors.

Our assessments are underpinned by a comprehensive training programme for our assessors as well as a rigorous quality assurance framework. Taken together, our established approach helps to ensure the robustness and defensibility of the findings and conclusions reached in our assessments.

Assessment of behavioural concerns

Where the concerns about an individual practitioner have their primary focus on the practitioner’s behaviour and relationships with colleagues, and where there is not misconduct requiring the use of disciplinary procedures, we may offer to undertake an assessment of the practitioner’s behaviours. This assessment involves completion of psychometric tests followed by a full-day structured interview with one of our behavioural assessors (an occupational psychologist), together with an occupational health assessment and multi-source feedback. The aim is to provide an independent view on any behavioural factors which may be causing concern about the practitioner, and to identify other factors which may be contributing to these concerns. The report that follows is used as a basis for informing next steps to address any behavioural problems or areas for development that have been identified.

Assessment of occupational health

Sometimes concerns about a practitioner focus on a practitioner’s health and how this may be influencing their performance. In these cases we can offer an assessment of occupational health. we have significant experience in occupational health services specifically tailored for clinicians with reported performance difficulties. We are also able to offer timely access to specified specialist health services where there may be indications of possible cognitive impairment.

Multi-source colleague and patient feedback

Whilst not a detailed assessment of practice, multi-source feedback can be useful tool for understanding the views of colleagues and patients onĀ  a practitioner’s work, as well as aiding the individual’s professional development. We work with the healthcare organisation and practitioner to collect and collate views from both colleagues and patients before presenting a report of the feedback back to the parties.

Assisted mediation

To help support the resolution of relationship difficulties between healthcare professionals, we also offer assisted mediation. Assisted mediation is an independent, voluntary and confidential process in which two accredited mediators work with the parties concerned to create a mutual understanding of the issues and to find a way forward that enables a more effective professional working relationship. Our mediators, most of whom are also Advisers for the service, share their experience of what is realistically likely to work and can also signpost parties to other interventions, which may also be helpful.

The aim of the assisted mediation service is to enable a more professional working relationship between both parties, which leads to a positive impact on the immediate team and ultimately better patient care.

Where we have offered to undertake an assessment or other intervention, we will only proceed with the explicit agreement of both the practitioner and their healthcare organisation.

Consideration of assessment policy statement

Our consideration of assessment policy statement related to cases where we are asked by an NHS employer or contracting organisation to consider whether to offer an assessment of an individual doctor, dentist or pharmacist about whom there are concerns.

A copy of our policy statement for considering such requests can be found here.



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