The partnership between doctors and patients is the cornerstone of good medical practice. Patients expect doctors to be open, work with them and be receptive to their wishes and views about their health and care.
This is a principle that runs through our core guidance for doctors, Good medical practice. It also forms the foundation of our plans for how doctors will revalidate.
We know that patients can give valuable feedback to doctors that can help them to understand what they do well and where they might usefully look to develop their professional skills. We will expect doctors to bring feedback from patients to their regular appraisal for revalidation.
Patient feedback is one of the six types of supporting information that a doctor must collect about their practice for revalidation. Doctors will need to review this feedback with their appraiser to think about and act on what it says about their practice and performance.
We will be asking doctors to work with their employers to collect structured feedback from their patients at least once in every revalidation cycle, which will usually be five years in length. This will mainly happen through the use of formal questionnaires designed to assess various aspects of a patient’s experience with a doctor.
We have developed and tested a patient questionnaire, which doctors and their organisations can use. There are a number of other questionnaires that they can use too. Our questionnaire asks patients, amongst other things, to comment on how well their doctor:
- assessed their medical condition
- listened to them
- explained their condition and treatment
- involved them in any decisions about their treatment
It won’t be compulsory for doctors to use our questionnaire. There are a number of other questionnaires they can use instead. But whatever they use, the questionnaire must follow the guidance that we have published, to make sure that they produce meaningful and accurate feedback to help the doctor improve their practice.
Complaints and compliments
A doctor will also be expected to bring a review of any complaints or compliments they have received from patients to each one of their annual appraisals in the five-year revalidation period.