How can I collect patient feedback when I don’t work for any GP service on a regular basis?

This case study will help if you:

  • work as a locum
  • work out of hours
  • work as a GP

Key points to consider

  • Consider how you can collect feedback from a range of patients that you see. For example, by collecting feedback at a number of different settings if your work is varied.
  • Consider whether there are any settings where you have a more established working relationship, where support staff might be willing to help, for example, by handing out feedback forms to patients.
  • Check whether there are any existing systems in place at settings where you work, that you can use to gather feedback from your patients there.
  • Select those you ask for feedback in a way that avoids bias. For example, by asking consecutive patients you see.
  • Use an independent survey provider to process your feedback and give you a personalised summary report of your results – don’t collect or collate responses yourself or ask your responsible officer or appraiser to do this.


Dr Wilson is a locum GP who often works in out of hours settings. She doesn’t work for any one service on a regular basis and has no continuity of care with her patients.

She is concerned that she will not be able to collect any meaningful patient feedback and that she might not be able to find anyone to help her administer the feedback.

How the doctor met our requirements

Dr Wilson chose a number of different settings to ask her patients for feedback, where she had a fairly established relationship. This included out of hours and a prison setting.

This helped her get feedback from a range of patients, reflecting those she usually sees in her day to day practice.

She dedicated a half day (a morning or afternoon session) to collect feedback from patients at each setting, and arranged for each consecutive patient she saw to receive a feedback form to complete.

She considered asking for additional consultation time when collecting patient feedback but found this wasn’t needed.

At most settings, receptionists agreed to hand out feedback forms to her patients and to collect the completed forms, so she didn’t see any individual responses.

At the prison, there wasn’t a receptionist, so the doctor asked her patients to hand their completed forms to a prison officer instead.

The completed feedback forms were sent to a survey provider to be processed independently.

In the out of hours setting, she found that the provider was already committed to collecting patient feedback relating to the doctors working for them, and so there was a system in place that she could use.

She thought it would be challenging to gather patient feedback at unfamiliar services, with unfamiliar patients, but instead found it a positive experience and most patients and colleagues agreed to help.

Dr Wilson received responses from a range of patients and discussed the summary of her results with her appraiser. She was pleased to note that she received very positive feedback from the patients she saw in the prison setting.

Useful link

Royal College of General Practitioners revalidation guidance.