Significant events

The  GMC guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation states: A significant event (also known as an untoward or critical incident) is any unintended or unexpected event, which could or did lead to harm of one or more patients. This includes incidents which did not cause harm but could have done, or where the event should have been prevented. In interpreting this guidance, it is recommended that any event deemed significant is one that meets your employing organisation’s threshold for formally reporting untoward, critical or patient safety incidents.


There are no minimum or maximum numbers of significant events that you should present at appraisal. It may be the case that no significant event has been logged against you or your team during the year, in which case you just need to make a declaration to that effect for your appraisal.

If there have been any significant events, you should summarise the details, together with any resulting reflection, learning and action points, for discussion at your appraisal. Demonstration of your reflection and learning could be through focusing on one or two patient safety related significant events.

It is also worth remembering that significant event management and analysis in healthcare is often a team activity. The outcomes of any team review of significant events can also be brought to appraisal, especially if you have learned about the quality of the care provided and what, if any, changes should be made as a result.

No. The main purpose of appraisal is to facilitate reflection on significant events (if any) for a formative developmental purpose. The focus is on reflection, learning and improvements to practice. This is distinct from the separate local governance process managing the significant event you may have been involved in.

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