Guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation

Your supporting information – compliments and complaints

The purpose of gathering and reflecting on compliments and complaints

  • To identify areas of good practice, strengths and what you do well.
  • To identify areas for improvement, lessons learned and any changes to be made as a result.
  • To demonstrate you value patients’ and others’ concerns and comments about your work by making changes as a result of the feedback you have received.

The GMC's requirements

a You must declare and reflect on all formal complaints made about you at your appraisal for revalidation. You should also reflect upon any complaints you receive outside of formal complaints procedures, where these provide useful learning.

b You do not have to discuss every complaint at your appraisal. You should select those that evidence your insight and learning into your practice, and those that have caused you to make a change to your practice. You must be able to explain to your appraiser, if asked, why you have chosen these complaints over others as part of your appraisal discussion.

c At your appraisal you should discuss your insight and learning from the complaints, and demonstrate how you have reflected on your practice and what changes you have made or intend to make.

d You should follow the same principles for collecting, discussing and reflecting on compliments.

The value of compliments

82 Compliments are important sources of evidence that can facilitate reflection on your practice. They are a source of learning and reinforcement. Collecting, discussing and reflecting on compliments gives you the opportunity to affirm areas of strength in your practice and their positive impact on patient care. This will help you understand what your patients and others you interact with every day think you do well.

83 Reflecting on compliments can help you further develop areas of strength.

Considering formal complaints

84 Good medical practice states that ‘You must be honest and trustworthy in all your communication with patients and colleagues.’ (paragraph 68). You have a professional obligation to declare any formal complaints made about you or your practice at your annual appraisals, and to discuss these with your appraiser as appropriate.

85 This guidance defines formal complaints as complaints received about you or your team that have been formally acknowledged or recorded by you or the organisation to which it was sent.

86 You must make sure your evidence of complaints covers all of the roles you carry out across your whole scope of practice.

Think broadly about sources of compliments and complaints

87 For each annual appraisal you should collect, discuss and reflect on:

a Complaints and compliments about you or your team that you or any organisation where you practise have received. This includes complaints that have been addressed through organisational complaints policies and procedures and complaints you might have resolved informally without the need for formal escalation.

b Complaints investigated by regulatory bodies, for example, ombudsmen, inspection agencies in the four UK countries, or the GMC.

c Feedback that you or the organisations where you practise have received through other channels, which identifies areas of your practice that are going well or may benefit from improvements. For example from online feedback platforms or informal feedback from a colleague following their conversation with a patient.

d Feedback about the team in which you work or the wider environment in which you practise, which has an impact on your individual practice by, for example, giving you a compliment, learning or action points.

Reflecting on compliments and complaints

88 During discussions at your appraisals, you should choose the examples of the complaints and compliments you have received that evidence your insight and learning about your practice. During your appraisal discussion you should talk about and reflect on any changes you have already made to your practice as a result, and any future actions or changes you propose to make. You must be able to explain to your appraiser, if asked, why you have chosen these complaints and compliments over others as part of your appraisal discussion.

89 You might not have any complaints or compliments in which you are personally named. If this is the case, you can consider reflecting on other relevant local complaints or compliments that helped you to change your practice or confirm good practice you already do.