Working with doctors Working for patients

Colleague and patient feedback for revalidation

This page is for doctors, Responsible Officers and others who want to know about collecting colleague and patient feedback for revalidation.

Colleague and patient feedback is one element of supporting information that doctors need to collect and reflect on for their revalidation. Along with the other supporting information doctors collect, it helps them reflect on how they work, and identify ways they can modify and improve their practice.

Doctors should seek feedback from both colleagues and patients at least once every five years, and it should form part of the discussion at annual appraisals. We have information from our Supporting information for appraisal and revalidation guide on discussing feedback in appraisal.


Help creating your questionnaire

We have guidance to help those who develop, commission and administer questionnaires.

Our guidance has three separate checklists:

  • Development of questionnaires - help for those developing questionnaires or looking to commission a questionnaire
  • Implementing questionnaires - help for employers and Responsible Officers implementing questionnaires into their organisation
  • Administering questionnaires - help for organisations administering completed questionnaires.

Download our guidance on colleague and patient questionnaires.

Case studies for collecting feedback from patients

We know that for some doctors, particularly those in non-conventional roles, collecting feedback from patients can be challenging.

We have developed six case studies with Responsible Officers, Suitable Persons and revalidation leads. These show real examples of how doctors and organisations have overcome the challenges they faced in collecting patient feedback. Many of the principles illustrated can be applied to a range of roles and situations.

If you're unsure how to go about collecting feedback from patients, speak to your appraiser, Responsible Officer or employer.

We would like to thank all those who helped us to develop these case studies.

Case studies

Who? Situation  Helpful for: 

Dr Timms

Dr Timms is a locum doctor who has held a number of short term appointments and wants to make sure he gets enough patient responses.

Doctors who:

  • work as a locum
  • undertake short term appointments in a number of locations.

Dr Chaudry

Dr Chaudry is an anaesthetist. He sees patients briefly and usually at a time when it's not appropriate to ask them for feedback.

Doctors who:

  • work in anaesthetics
  • see patients once or briefly
  • are unsure when to ask patients for feedback.

Dr Grey


Dr Grey has a 'portfolio' career. He sees private patients, teaches, works as a magistrate and acts as an expert witness. He is concerned about having to get patient feedback from all his roles.

Doctors who:

  • have a number of roles
  • have both medical and non-medical roles
  • don't have contact with patients.

Dr Jez

Dr Jez is an associate specialist in neonatology. Her patients are infants in a special baby care unit. The age of her patients prevents them from giving feedback.

Doctors who:

  • work in neonatology
  • see patients who can't complete  questionnaires themselves.

Second opinion
appointed doctors


Doctors providing a second opinion for patients detained under the Mental Health Act. Patient contact can be brief, and in challenging circumstances.

Organisations where patients:

  • are seen once or briefly
  • are more likely to give negative feedback
  • might not be able to complete a written questionnaire.

Doctors working at
a hospice for children

Doctors working in a hospice see a small number of patients who often don't have capacity to give feedback. Asking their families for feedback can sometimes be inappropriate.

Organisations where patients:

  • are receiving palliative care
  • are children or young people
  • have repeated contact with the same doctor.


GMC questionnaire and other resources

We have developed two questionnaires; one for colleague feedback and one for patient feedback.

These questionnaires are generic and can be used by any doctor. It's important you read and follow the accompanying instructions for using the questionnaire. Key points from the instructions are:

  • Where possible, doctors should not hand out the questionnaires to patients themselves
  • Doctors should not see any individual responses from patients or colleagues
  • Responses must be collected independently of the doctor, appraiser and Responsible Officer
  • Doctors collecting their own feedback should use an independent survey company to process the questionnaires
  • Every doctor should receive a personalised summary report of their feedback.

We do not prescribe or approve the use of any questionnaires or survey provider.


A leaflet for patients on giving feedback

We have produced a leaflet for patients about giving feedback to their doctors. This explains to patients why their feedback is important, how it is used, and tips on giving useful feedback.

We hope that by using the leaflet, this will assist doctors in getting more responses from patients, and better quality feedback.

We recommend that a copy of the leaflet is given to patients as part of the questionnaire pack.

We have designed the leaflet to be printed locally, in either colour or black or white, on a single sheet of A4. We don’t have ready printed copies to order.

Download our leaflet, Giving feedback to your doctor (pdf)

Giving feedback to your doctor (Welsh version) (pdf)

Giving feedback to your doctor (easy read version) (pdf)

Giving feedback to your doctor (large print version) (doc)