Guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation

Your supporting information – feedback from patients or those to whom you provide medical services

The purpose of gathering and reflecting on this feedback

  • To understand what your patients and others think about the care and services you provide.
  • To help you identify areas of strength and development, and highlight changes you can make to improve the care or services you provide.
  • To evaluate whether changes you have made to your practice in light of earlier feedback have had a positive impact.

The GMC's requirements

a At least once in each revalidation cycle you must collect, reflect on and discuss feedback from patients about their experience of you as their doctor.

b If you do not have patients you should collect feedback from others to whom you provide medical services. If you believe you can’t collect such feedback, then you must agree with your responsible officer that you do not need to.

c Those asked to give you feedback must be chosen from across your whole scope of practice.

d You should use standard questionnaires that have been validated and are independently administered to maintain objectivity and anonymity. You must agree any alternative approaches with your responsible officer.

e You should not personally select those asked to give feedback about you, and you should make sure the method used for collecting feedback allows responses to be obtained from a representative sample.

f You must reflect on what the feedback means for your current and future practice, and discuss it at your appraisal.

Frequency and method

56 At least once since you last revalidated you must collect and reflect on feedback from patients from across your whole practice. If you are unsure how to collect patient feedback, you should check any local appraisal guidance and discuss with your appraiser and responsible officer.

57 The organisations where you practise may have systems and processes in place so you can gather feedback using standard questionnaires that have been validated and are independently administered. If you practise in settings that do not have these systems in place, you will need to identify how you will gather patient feedback, for example through an independent provider.

58 You should use standard questionnaires that are consistent with the principles, values and responsibilities set out in Good medical practice, and have been validated.

59 Your standard questionnaires should be independently administered (handed out and responses collected and collated) to reassure your patients that their feedback is anonymous. If as a result of a patient’s circumstances you can identify who has given the feedback, you must remain professional at all times, particularly where feedback may not be favourable.

60 When using standard questionnaires, the independent provider will be able to tell you how many responses you need, to give an accurate reflection of your practice. Read additional guidance on using standard questionnaires.

61 If you are unable to use a standard questionnaire, you must agree an alternative approach with your responsible officer before starting to collect your feedback. Your appraiser can help you to think broadly and flexibly about an alternative approach.

If you don’t have patients

62 If you don’t treat patients directly, you should think more broadly about who can give you feedback from the perspective of those you work for as a doctor. For example, clients, appraisees, customers, and recipients of reports you provide (who could be other doctors) or medical students. If you can collect feedback from these types of people, then you should.

63 If you are unable to collect patient feedback from either your patients directly or other alternatives, you must discuss this with your responsible officer.

Patient feedback should be objective and representative

64 You should make sure patients are offered an accessible way to give their feedback that meets their needs. For example, you might need to offer a questionnaire in another language or an easy read version. If your patients cannot give feedback themselves, you should seek feedback from those who can give you meaningful and informed feedback from the patient’s perspective. For example, patients relatives, carers or advocates.

65 The method used to collect patient feedback should not exclude those less able to give their feedback, for example patients with cognitive impairments such as learning disabilities. You might need to offer some patients a questionnaire in another format, such as easy read or large print, to reach a representative sample of all your patients.

66 Feedback from your patients must be of sufficient quantity to give a realistic and comprehensive picture of how your patients perceive you. It should give you the opportunity to identify your strengths and areas for development. You should not personally select the patients asked to give feedback about you and should use an independently administered questionnaire to minimise bias. A random or consecutive selection can help minimise bias.

67 You should make sure the method used for collecting feedback allows responses to be obtained from a representative sample of your patients. Whoever selects the patients that are asked to provide feedback should use a method that allows them to choose a broad range of patients reflecting all the patients you see.

Reflecting on your patient feedback

68 Feedback from your patients and those you provide services to will help you understand their experience as a patient and how they view your practice.

69 Reflecting on this type of feedback will help you identify changes you need to make to your practice to improve the care or services you provide. It will also allow you to identify your strengths so you can build on these further.