Patient feedback


The GMC says:

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Those asked to give you feedback must be chosen from across your whole scope of practice.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You must reflect on what the feedback means for your current and future practice, and discuss it at your appraisal.

One of the principles of revalidation is that patient feedback should be at the heart of doctors' professional development. There is an ongoing GMC review into how patient feedback opportunities can be made more accessible to all patients and more valuable in how and when feedback is made available to doctors.

RCGP recommendations specific to patient feedback for GPs

  • Although the GMC requires only one formal GMC-compliant patient feedback exercise in a fiveyear cycle, patient groups have expressed the view that, for most GPs, who see many patients every day, this is inadequate and does not allow patients sufficient voice. All sources of feedback from patients, both formal and informal, are important triggers for reflection. In addition to the formal GMC-compliant patient survey, carried out once in the five-year cycle, the RCGP recommends that you reflect on some of the many other sources of feedback from your patients and on your relationship with your patients annually at your appraisal.
  • Patient participation groups, the 'friends and family' test, the national patient survey, suggestions boxes, ad hoc comments and compliments, among others, can all provide valuable sources of patient feedback to reflect on. The RCGP does not recommend that you should engage in additional formal solicited patient feedback surveys (unless you have made a specific change that you wish to review) as this would be a disproportionate burden and more than is required of doctors from other sectors.
  • For patient feedback to be as valuable to the GP profession as possible, it should be possible for patients to give feedback when something has happened that they want to give feedback about so that good practice can be celebrated and improvements can be made. While waiting for the outcomes of the GMC review into patient feedback in revalidation, GPs can influence the debate by considering how to create opportunities for patients to give real-time unsolicited, and ad hoc feedback into their practice in a way that is realistic and does not create additional burdens.

Next: Colleague feedback >

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