Practitioner Performance Advice (previously NCAS) Law

NCAS LawLegal Advice for Doctors Involved with NHS PPA (NCAS) Investigations

The National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) has been renamed as ‘Practitioner Performance Advice (PPA)’, a division of NHS Resolution (the replacement body for the NHS Litigation Service). The PPA assesses doctors that work in the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are perceived to be under-performing at work in some way – by reason of their attitude, incompetence, or ill-health.

Following assessment, recommendations are made by PPA to the employing NHS body. On occasions, referrals are made to the GMC, where a doctor’s fitness to practise may be impaired, based on the evidence collated by PPA and the employer.

The PPA (NCAS) details the interventions that they are likely to make, as follows:

  • case conferences and advice on local investigation
  • suspension or exclusion of a doctor
  • health professionals alert notices
  • mediation
  • performance assessment
  • health assessment
  • assessment of behavioural concerns
  • assessment of communicative competence
  • Professional Support and Remediation services
  • team review
  • local review
  • local governance development

(Source: NCAS (2017))

See the Practitioner Performance Advice website for more details. The PPA states that they provide impartial advice. See also their guidance Being Fair (July 2019). The PPA website states that “A just and learning culture is the balance of fairness, justice, learning – and taking responsibility for actions. It is not about seeking to blame the individuals involved when care in the NHS goes wrong. It is also not about an absence of responsibility and accountability.

Following assessment, recommendations are made by PPA (NCAS) to the employing NHS body. On occasions, referrals are made to the GMC, if a doctor’s fitness to practise may be impaired, based on the evidence collated by PPA and the employer.

Doctors Defence Service advises doctors who are going through the process of a Practitioner Performance Advice (PPA) (or NCAS) assessment, as well as at later legal stages (such as employment tribunals, GMC hearings, local committee, PCT, NHS disciplinary proceedings).

Call us on 0800 10 88 739 for more details about our advisory service relating to Practitioner Performance Advice (PPA) matters.