Terms & Conditions

Terms and Conditions for Use of the Medical Appraisal and Revalidation System (MARS) Version 8


1. Nomenclature and feedback

The Medical Appraisal Revalidation System is managed, developed and supported by the Business Systems Support Unit (BSSU) and Revalidation Support Unit (RSU) at the Wales Deanery, Cardiff University. The online appraisal system is designed to facilitate the appraisal process and to support individual doctors and Responsible Officers through revalidation. MARS became the single appraisal management system for all doctors with a prescribed connection in Wales from April 2014. MARS consists of a number of independent sites; they cover the hospital sector (that includes the independent sector) and general practice. The main structures of the sites are identical but the text has been changed as appropriate. We constantly adapt the sites in line with feedback, quality assurance reviews and external bodies such as Wales Service Management Board. If you have any feedback regarding the site, please email marswales@cf.ac.uk

MARS has undergone a suite of enhancements as part of a long-term project known as MARS Enhancement Project (MEP). The main focus was on improving the user experience. The site was upgraded on 23rd August 2017.


2. Appraisal information

The personal information held within these sites is treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). For the purposes of the Act, Cardiff University is the Data Controller. Principles of access are outlined below.

The appraisal information you enter into MARS will be available to your appraiser once a meeting date has been agreed and is within 30 days. Your personal and professional details (including the range and scope of your work), will be available to your appraiser once: -

  • you have chosen him/her from a list of approved, trained appraisers
  • your request has been accepted by that appraiser.

In the unlikely event that your appraiser identifies a concern during the appraisal process about your performance or fitness to practice, they would have a duty to report this in line with GMC guidance. In Wales for GPs, any such concerns follow the Wales Appraisal Exceptions Management Protocol. This can be accessed in the Revalidation Wales website. In Wales for all other doctors, guidance has been produced in line with existing local clinical governance systems. Please contact your local Revalidation Manager for further information.  This management process may require that aspects of your appraisal information would be made available to other clinicians involved in the process.

Your profile information, appraisal summary and PDP (form 4) will be available to your Medical Director/Responsible Officer or those with delegated RO responsibilities under the NHS Wales Medical Appraisal Policy. It may also be shared for the purposes of revalidation or Quality Assurance purposes.

Wales Deanery and Designated Body staff members have access to data entered into MARS as appropriate to enable effective management of the appraisal process. Reports produced automatically through the online system provide management information about engagement with appraisal. This access is in line with local policies and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Additionally aggregated reports are produced detailing the learning needs and constraints identified by doctors. No individuals will be identified in these reports. In Wales, relevant staff within Designated Bodies and Welsh Government receive annual reports containing aggregated data for the purposes of planning educational provision. There reports are available via our annual review site.

3. Quality assurance (QA)

A range of QA activities are carried out to assess whether the appraisal process is meeting specified standards and remains fit for purpose. This QA does not relate to the evidence provided by individual doctors nor to their clinical performance or fitness to practice. Key QA activities are described below.

In Wales, a random sample of appraisal entries, summaries, PDPs and revalidation progress pages are generated automatically each year for quality assurance (QA) purposes in order to review whether the appraisal process is meeting specified standards. This is an essential aspect of managing the appraisal process. All such materials will be anonymised by the RSU and access to them will be restricted to those participating in the QA. Any items of a particularly sensitive nature or from which individuals could be identified will be omitted. Individuals will not be identified in QA reports. Previous reports can be accessed via our annual report site.

Additionally in Wales, GP Appraisal Coordinators and Designated Body staff have access to appraisal summaries and PDPs in order to routinely quality assure a sample of these on an on-going basis. This routine QA is used to provide specific feedback to individual Appraisers and to review whether the appraisal process is meeting specified standards in the local area.


4. Use of e-mail

As part of the registration process you are required to enter a live e-mail address. This will be used for the purposes of appraisal and communication about the process of appraisal. You will receive automated e-mail reminders from the system when your appraisal is due. You will also receive e-mails that inform you at various stages during the appraisal process. You also may receive e-mails about educational events, appraisal or revalidation from the Designated Body / Area Team or the Revalidation Support Unit. Your e-mail address will not be passed on to any third parties unless we have your explicit consent or unless required to do so by law.

All GP Appraisers must use their Cardiff University email address as part of their terms of employment and University Information Security regulations.


5. All users

The website is subject to copyright and the contents, process and functionality cannot be shown, described or demonstrated to any parties that are not directly engaged with the system.


If you are an appraisee you should remember that the data you enter must not breach patient confidentiality rules. You are asked to agree the following statements:-

  • I agree not to enter patient identifiable data into this database
  • I agree not to use images of patients without prior consent or under normal NHS rules of data processing
  • I understand that information entered on this database will be fully accessible to my appraiser for the year in question once I have agreed an appraisal date
  • Where information could foreseeably be associated with an identifiable patient even when a name is not used, consent for inclusion must be obtained in advance.

I understand and accept the principles of access and confidentiality described in this statement.

If you are an Appraiser you must agree to the following conditions:-

I understand that the information I have access to on the database is personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998, and that I therefore have specific responsibilities to it.

Therefore I agree:

  • To hold this data securely and use it only for the purposes for which it has been submitted to me.
  • To securely destroy any data that I may download and/or print from the database once the appraisal is complete. In keeping with best practice, hard copy data should be shredded and/or disposed of in confidential waste.

If you are another user (Designated Body staff, system/IT administrator, Wales Postgraduate Deanery staff etc.) you must agree to the following conditions:

I understand and accept the principles of access and confidentiality described in the statements below and recognise and accept my own responsibilities in relation to them.

I therefore agree:

  • To hold this data securely and use it only for the purposes for which it has been submitted to me.
  • To destroy any data that I may download from the database securely once the appraisal is complete. In keeping with best practice this data should be shredded and/or disposed of in confidential waste.