Evaluation of our learning disabilities website

What were the key findings?

  • The idea of a website aimed at helping doctors to provide better care for people with learning disabilities was welcomed by doctors, fulfils an unmet need and fits well with our remit.

  • There’s been an overall increase in visitors since launch and in the first six months of 2014 the website received over 11,000 visits. Having said that, awareness and usage of the website are low among doctors as a whole and there are opportunities to increase its impact through greater promotion.

  • Doctors may not see spending time on the website as a priority compared to training in clinical skills, due to the limited time they have available for continuing professional development. There are opportunities to use the homepage better to emphasise the benefits of the site, for instance by clearly outlining objectives and incorporating a clear call to action.

  • The visual appearance was well liked, with the GMC colours and branding providing reassurance. There is potential for a more structured system of signposting to improve navigation and help doctors to find the content most relevant to them.

  • Junior doctors are more likely to say they would use the site, whereas those who are more senior believe that they already understand the principles; and specialists can be put off by the lack of scenarios relating to their speciality.

  • The content is considered strong; however there are opportunities to develop more targeted content and examples of good practice relevant to particular specialties and professional contexts.

  • Overall impressions of the development process are positive. Having clearer aims and objectives and a more holistic approach to development were identified as areas of improvement.

  • Looking forward, we may wish to consider providing similar websites providing a holistic approach to ethical and professional standards.

Why did we commission this research?

In March 2012, we launched the learning disabilities website to help doctors provide better care for people with a learning disability.

This research was commissioned to evaluate current awareness, use and perceptions of the website, assess the value and impact of the website to doctors and identify lessons learnt and areas for improvement in the development process. The findings will inform future updates on the website and future projects aimed at bringing our professional standards to life.

What did the research involve?

A critical review and analysis of usage data was carried out. Mini focus groups were held with doctors and a stakeholder workshop was held with internal and external partners involved in the development and promotion of the website.

I want the full report

Evaluation of the General Medical Council’s Learning Disabilities Website