Colleague feedback

The GMC says

The purpose of gathering and reflecting upon colleague feedback:

  • To understand how the range of people you work with view your practice.
  • To help you identify areas of strength and development, and highlight changes you could 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 your revalidation cycle you must collect, reflect on, and discuss at your annual appraisal, feedback from your colleagues.
  • The colleagues who are asked to give feedback must be chosen from across your whole scope of practice, and must include people from a range of different roles who may not be doctors.
  • You must choose colleagues impartially and be able to explain to your appraiser, if asked, why you have chosen the colleagues who have given your feedback.
  • Wherever possible you should use standard questionnaires that have been validated and are independently administered to maintain objectivity and confidentiality. You must agree any alternative approaches with your responsible officer.

You must reflect on what the feedback means for your current and future practice.

Questionnaires and surveys

Feedback from patients (and those to whom you provide medical services) and colleagues should be obtained using appropriate questionnaires that are accessible to all appropriate respondents and meet the standards set by the GMC. Acceptable questionnaires must:

  • be consistent with the principles, values and responsibilities set out in the GMC's core guidance: Good medical practice
  • be piloted on the appropriate population to demonstrate that they are reliable and valid.
  • reflect and measure the doctor's whole scope of practice.
  • be administered independently from the doctor and their appraiser to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of bias.
  • provide appropriate and useful information that will support the development of the doctor and help the doctor to reflect on their practice and identify opportunities for professional development and improvement.

RCGP recommendations applicable to all formal solicited patient and colleague feedback

  • You must reflect on feedback relating to the whole of your scope of practice over the five-year cycle.
  • You must complete a minimum of one formal solicited colleague feedback exercise and one formal solicited patient feedback exercise, each compliant with the GMC questionnaire requirements, over the five-year cycle.
  • You may be asked by your appraiser to explain your choice of respondents and how they were selected to provide your formal feedback. You must be able to demonstrate they were chosen objectively and on the basis that they were able to provide the most valuable feedback as well as that you have sought feedback across your whole scope of practice. Your appraiser will be able to support you in planning how to select an appropriate range of patients and colleagues to give a full 360-degree view of your practice and avoid any conflicts of interest or appearance of bias.
  • As the number of appropriate tools increases, the RCGP no longer recommends any particular tools. Instead, you are advised to choose a suitable tool, or tools, that meets all the GMC requirements, is appropriate to the scope of practice about which you are seeking feedback, and is accessible to the whole spectrum of respondents.
  • If you have made significant changes as a result of feedback, it is best practice to repeat the feedback exercise to facilitate reflection on the impact of the change. Therefore, the RCGP recommends that you choose to complete the formal patient and colleague feedback in the first three years of the revalidation cycle in order to allow time for this if appropriate.
  • The RCGP recognises the value of compliments as a form of unsolicited feedback from patients, those to whom you provide medical services and colleagues. You should include your reflective note on any compliments, rather than original material, in the electronic portfolio, due to the difficulties with anonymising data. Keep any original cards, letters or e-mails, if you wish, securely in a separate portfolio which you can share with your appraiser so that they can be commented on in the appraisal summary.
  • In exceptional situations, you may have difficulties in undertaking your five-yearly formal colleague feedback exercise or your five-yearly formal patient feedback exercise in a way that fulfils all the GMC requirements. In such cases, you will need to provide a detailed reflective note explaining the circumstances. It would be best practice to agree that the proposed process for seeking feedback is appropriate for revalidation with your appraiser and your responsible officer before undertaking it.

RCGP recommendations specific to colleague feedback

  • In addition to your clinical roles, you will need to gather feedback specific to other parts of your scope of work, such as teaching, training, appraising, management and leadership roles.
  • Your colleague feedback over the five-year cycle must cover your whole scope of practice, so you may choose to include colleagues from all the different parts of your scope of practice, including your non-clinical roles, within your one formal GMC-compliant colleague feedback exercise.
  • Alternatively, you may choose to limit the GMC-compliant colleague feedback exercise to colleagues who are able to give you a full 360-degree view of your clinical roles and to seek and reflect on colleague feedback about non-clinical areas of your scope of practice separately, using more specific tools.
  • If you seek feedback from specific non-clinical roles that form part of your scope of practice separately, questionnaires do not always need to fulfil all the GMC requirements. For example, you may reflect on non-anonymised feedback, or have fewer respondents. You should aim to collect valuable feedback to inform your reflection and improvements in your practice and discuss your choices with your appraiser to ensure they are appropriate.

Next: Review of complaints and compliments >

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