Can I collect feedback from clients instead of patients?

This case study will help if you:

  • carry out medico-legal work
  • don’t see patients but have ‘clients’ or ‘customers’.

Key points to consider

  • You need to collect and reflect on feedback about your performance for revalidation, even if you don’t see any patients.
  • Discuss proposed alternative groups with your appraiser, such as clients, customers or service users.
  • Discuss with your employing organisation:
    • whether you need to hold a licence for the work you do
    • whether it’s appropriate to ask your clients for feedback. It may not be in all cases.


Dr Patel is an expert medical witness who writes medico-legal reports. She doesn’t carry out any other medical practice and doesn’t see patients as part of her work. She’s unsure how to meet the requirements for reflecting on feedback for her revalidation.

How the doctor met our requirements

Dr Patel recognised clients she interviews and sometimes examines to prepare medico-legal reports would be able to provide her with helpful feedback on her performance, to reflect on at her appraisal. She decided to ask for their feedback immediately after her appointments with them, to prevent the content of her report influencing their responses.

She agreed with her responsible officer that, as she only sees a small number of clients each year, she could have longer than usual to collect enough responses to give an accurate picture of her performance.

She found a multisource feedback questionnaire that allowed her to ask her clients appropriate questions about her performance. She asked her secretary to hand out the questionnaires to her clients and to stress what they said would have no impact on their case or the content of her report, as the process is anonymous and the doctor would not see individual responses.

She identified a range of other individuals who could provide her with a broad range of feedback on her performance, such as: 

  • administrative support staff
  • instructing solicitors
  • clerks
  • barristers
  • lawyers.

Other doctors carrying out this type of work have also collected feedback from:

  • tribunal judges
  • tribunal medical members
  • tribunal disability qualified members.

Dr Patel reflected on a summary of her feedback and noticed that some of her clients said they felt unable to fully express their concerns about the case during their appointment with her. She discussed with her appraiser ways that she could put her clients at ease and encourage them to fully express their concerns during their meetings.