2. Quality improvement activities QIA

NASGP AppraisalAidThe GMC requires that you “demonstrate that you regularly participate in activities that review and evaluate the quality of your work.”

Until recently, audit seemed to be seen as the gold standard appraisal quality improvement activity (QIA). Audit is a great tool for those with managerial responsibility to evaluate processes of care, spot weaknesses and implement organisational change. For those with no practice managerial role, such as locum GPs and some salaried GPs, full-cycle audit with retrospective data collection is not only a logistical challenge, it is also less meaningful as we are restricted in our ability to affect change across an organisation.

Happily, in its latest guidance, the RCGP has recognises the heterogeneity of GPs. Audit is still on the menu for those GPs for whom it is possible and relevant, but audit is no longer the supreme QIA for all GPs.

FB-f-Logo__blue_72Discuss audits and QIA on NASGP's GP Facebook group.

Alternative appraisal quality improvement activities

So the door is open for sessional GPs to devise QIAs that are relevant to our diverse working lives.

The NASGP has pulled together ideas and resources based on the RCGP guidance and our own experience as sessional GPs undergoing appraisal, including Google Drive versions of the templates too.

It is by no means a definitive list. There are probably as many great ideas for QIAs as there are sessional GPs, and it would be of enormous value to us all (and our patients) if members of the NASGP community could share examples of QIAs that you have successfully submitted at appraisal. You’ll show you’re “working with colleagues”, and further improving quality by spreading best practice!

Condition-based case reviews

Identify a condition or area of care you want to brush up on, evaluate your current practise, review any evidence or guidance, identify any changes you need to make and then re-evaluate your practise.

This is best suited to commonly occurring conditions where you can expect to see a reasonable number of cases for your data collection.


Serial case reviews with a colleague

The idea is to capture a slice of your usual working life by recording 10-20 consecutive consultations. Then review your work with a suitable colleague.


Individual case review

An in depth review and reflections of a case that interested you with a colleague.

This may have been a new condition, an unusual presentation of a common condition, something that went well or wrong. Basically anything that triggered you to identify a learning need.


Referral review

Referral letter content review

Do your referral letters contain the necessary information in an accessible format that will allow for a smooth, timely referral experience for your patients?

Referral outcome review

Did you refer the patient to the right place at the right time?

As a locum it can be especially challenging to get feedback on our referrals. Nonetheless, this is a valuable area of learning in how to use local resources efficiently, and most importantly, doing our bit in helping our patients have the smoothest, safest journey possible.



Use this template to work through a complex medication review. Includes the Scottish Government's seven-point medication review schedule.


  • It is possible to audit areas of your personal practise. Or you could carry out an audit with colleagues from your locum group or chamber.
  • If you are based in, or have particular links with a practice, you may be able to get data retrospectively.
  • It is more likely that you will have to carry out a prospective data collection and it all starts to look very similar to a condition-based review. But we’re getting into semantics; call it what you will, this activity can lead to useful learning.


Puns and Dens

PUNs are Patients’ Unmet Needs. They are discovered in consultations simply by asking ourselves at the end, when the patient has gone, ‘How could I have done better?’ During consultations we are commonly aware of gaps in our ability, gaps in the in-house systems or attitudinal problems. You need to focus on the Patient’s Needs to identify these. The doctor, not the patient, will decide whether the patient’s needs have been met. Recognition of deficiencies lead to the discovery of Doctors' Educational Needs DENs. When you discover Patients’ Unmet Needs you have found your first PUN ! It simple really!

Completed examples

This is where you come in. We'd love you to send in examples - stripped of any patient-identifiable information - that we can share here with the NASGP community.