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Feedback, from both patients and colleagues, is a key part of your portfolio and a major component of your appraisal and revalidation Here, we will break down common questions about collecting feedback including why, when, and how you should do it, as well as how the feedback section of your appraisal document will look.
Part 1: Feedback FAQs
Why do I need to collect feedback?
The GMC mandates that all revalidating doctors must have collected and discussed feedback from patients and feedback from peers at least once in each revalidation cycle (every 5 years).
Collecting and reflecting on feedback is part of the GMC’s expectation around Probity. You should not only be open to receiving feedback from your colleagues and patients but you are expected to share that feedback and reflect on your learnings from it.
Do I need to collect feedback as a locum or an F3 doctor?
Collecting feedback is a mandatory part of Foundation Training and Core Training, so you will not need to collect it during your F3 year if they know you are returning to training after F3.
If you are planning to take an F4, then you should try and collect your feedback as early as possible in your time out of training. As a locum, it can be difficult to collect feedback if you are moving teams frequently so you should give yourself lots of time to do this.
What constitutes feedback?
There are two types of feedback you can collect and you should aim to include a variety in your portfolio.
1️⃣ Formal Feedback
This is anonymous feedback that you must collect, reflect on, and discuss formal feedback at least once in every revalidation cycle.
You should use a standard questionnaire that is validated and confidential like these:
If you want to collect feedback using an alternative method (such as focus groups or structured interviews, or formal comment cards) then discuss this with your responsible officer or appraiser to make sure it would be acceptable for your appraisal.
Aim to collect a minimum of 11 responses of this type of feedback for the purposes of your appraisal.
This is unsolicited feedback provided by your colleagues, patients, or their families and carers.
If it is a complaint about you or your team, then you must declare and reflect on it at your appraisal for revalidation. If it is positive feedback, then you don’t have to save it, but it is nice to hold onto and present at your appraisal if you have it.
Informal feedback can be:
- verbal or written feedback
- letters or cards that mention you or your work,
- emails, or plaudits/laudits.
You can record this feedback by saving a screenshot or printing digital feedback, scanning any cards or letters, or making a written record of any verbal feedback given.
Make sure that anything you save maintains patient and peer confidentiality. For example, if you are scanning a letter or card, redact any confidential information that may identify patients or persons involved.
How do I show evidence of collecting feedback in my appraisal?
You should upload your feedback evidence into Section 10 of the MAG, and include a reflection on themes you have noticed, areas where you are doing well, and areas you could improve in the future. If you plan to change your practice, include a brief description of how you plan to change it and what benefit you hope this change will bring.
Section 10 of the MAG looks like this:
Part 2: Colleague Feedback
What does the GMC say about colleague feedback?
The GMC states that you must collect colleague feedback at least once in each revalidation cycle and reflect on the responses. You must choose a variety of colleagues ie. clinical, admin, managerial, domestic services, etc.
If you don't have ‘colleagues’ then discuss with your appraiser in advance who you should collect feedback from. Think broadly about the teams and environments you work within, and consider any other professional that you interact or liaise with.
What is the point of colleague feedback?
👉 identify areas of strength and development
👉 highlight changes you could make to improve the care or services you provide
👉 evaluate whether changes you made in response to previous feedback have positively impacted your work
By collecting responses from a variety of colleagues, you are demonstrating an understanding of the value of a multi-disciplinary approach, and are participating in the dismantling of outdated patriarchal medical systems which have been shown to produce worse patient outcomes.
How should I collect colleague feedback?
You can use this GMC-validated generic colleague feedback survey or you can find a free digital feedback collection tool online.
Tips for collecting colleague feedback
👉 Ask your colleagues in person if they will fill out your feedback form. Once they verbally commit, they will be more likely to actually do it.
👉 Give them a deadline. Explain that you need it for your revalidation and that it should only take them 1-2 minutes. You are more forgettable as a locum, and a lower priority on the list of tasks that this person has to deal with, so adding a sense of urgency may help.
👉 Explain that the feedback is confidential and helps to improve your practice as a doctor and team member. This shows your colleagues how providing feedback may benefit them in the future.
👉 Expect a low response rate, so your volume of requests should be high. The more you move around (i.e. as a locum) the fewer responses you’ll typically get and the more forgettable you are to your team. Consider sending between 1-4 requests per shift/ group of shifts from the colleagues that you interacted with the most.
👉 You may get slightly more responses with printed forms. If you are struggling to get responses to digital surveys, consider bringing a few printed forms to a ward and giving your team five minutes to fill them out while you get ready to leave at the end of a shift. If they all leave the forms together in one place for you to collect, they will still be confidential.
We don’t recommend:
👉 Waiting until the end of the year to start collecting feedback. Even if you are universally loved and your department raves about you, you will still get a reasonably low response rate for your questionnaires, so you should give yourself lots of time to do this.
👉 Trying to bribe your colleagues with chocolates. If you are liked, then you are likely to get positive feedback anyway, but if you are disliked, then this comes across as blatant bribery, which doesn’t go down well at all.
What if my colleagues flag up concerns?
When asking for feedback, colleagues may flag up concerns or highlight issues with your work. The point of anonymous feedback is to allow your colleagues to feel comfortable enough to do this knowing that you will never know who wrote what.
Your colleagues’ responses should always remain anonymous to you, but you should consider how issues raised will be addressed if you are not collecting feedback through a supervisor (like the Horus ePortfolio).
If you do get ‘constructive feedback’ then reflect on it, and consider what you may have done to warrant the comments you received. Use the Collect → Reflect → Discuss model when building this section of your portfolio to ensure you demonstrate learning and growth from your feedback.
Part 3: Patient Feedback
What does the GMC say about patient feedback?
The GMC states that you must collect anonymous patient feedback at least once in each revalidation cycle and reflect on the responses. They are currently updating their guidance to further include an obligation for doctors to help patients make decisions for themselves by finding out what matters to patients, so this can guide discussions about their care and treatment options.
What if I don’t work with patients?
If you don’t work with patients, reflect on feedback from others you provide medical services to, or agree with your responsible officer that you do not need to collect such feedback.
What if my patients aren’t able to communicate or provide feedback?
Feedback from patients’ parents or carers is appropriate to include, particularly when you work with young patients or patients with communication difficulties.
What is the point of patient feedback?
👉 listening to patients
👉 taking account of patient views
👉 responding honestly to patient questions
👉 adapting or maintaining your practice based on patient feedback GMC is currently updating its guidance to also include an obligation for doctors to:
👉 help patients make decisions for themselves by finding out what matters to them, so this can guide discussions about their care and treatment options.
How should I collect patient feedback?
You can use this GMC-validated generic patient feedback survey or you can sign up to Medall to use their free digital feedback collection tool.
- 🗣️ Feedback
- Part 1: Feedback FAQs
- Why do I need to collect feedback?
- Do I need to collect feedback as a locum or an F3 doctor?
- What constitutes feedback?
- How do I show evidence of collecting feedback in my appraisal?
- Part 2: Colleague Feedback
- What does the GMC say about colleague feedback?
- What is the point of colleague feedback?
- How should I collect colleague feedback?
- Tips for collecting colleague feedback
- What if my colleagues flag up concerns?
- Part 3: Patient Feedback
- What does the GMC say about patient feedback?
- What if I don’t work with patients?
- What if my patients aren’t able to communicate or provide feedback?
- What is the point of patient feedback?
- How should I collect patient feedback?