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GPs will be required to collect annual patient feedback under GMC plans

GPs will have to collect patient feedback every year instead of every five years, under new proposals from the GMC designed to reduce the burden on GPs.

Published today, the GMC's consultation document recommends GPs increase the frequency with which they collect feedback, despite acknowledging the continued pressures GPs currently face. 

The GMC also proposes GPs should reflect on unsolicited feedback, and suggests that they no longer need to use the structured questionnaire.

The consultation details proposed changes to the guidance on collecting patient feedback, and will run until 23 July.

The GMC said the more regular patient feedback would allow doctors to 'pick up any issues to address in a timely way', while recognising the pressure GPs face, claiming it does not want to 'increase the administrative burden of feedback collection.'

The proposed new guidance says: 'Annually you must reflect on sources of patient feedback that are available to you. Depending on your practice this could include: spontaneous or unplanned feedback (such as comments, cards, and letters), feedback on your team or the service you provide.'

This replaces the current guidance, which states that GPs need to collect structured feedback every revalidation cycle through a structured questionnaire. 

However, the regulator is also proposing that structured questionnaires should be taken out of circulation as they contains too many tick boxes and not enough space for comments. Instead, feedback will be based on broader questions, such as asking how well they were assessed and how well they felt listened to.

It says: 'We no longer require doctors to use questionnaires structured around Good medical practice, giving them freedom to use other methods and allowing patients to comment on what matters to them.'

The GMC consultation document consists of 14 questions including the key principles doctors need to consider when reflecting on patient feedback for revalidation, and how to implement such principles.

It also suggests that the feedback process should be as accessible as possible by considering patients with communication or learning difficulties, and not just relying on structured questionnaires.

GMC director of registration and revalidation Una Lane said existing processes make conducting patient feedback ‘harder than it should be'.

She said: ‘Patient feedback is among the most useful information doctors can get for their learning and reflection. But at a time when the profession is under such pressure it shouldn’t be a burden, and we know existing processes can make it more difficult than it should be.

‘We want doctors, employers and patients to get involved in our consultation and help shape the way feedback works in the future, which we hope will ultimately help improve patient care.’

RCGP medical director of revalidation Dr Susi Caesar said: ‘Meaningful patient feedback promotes doctors’ professional development and helps create quality improvements in the care we provide. All doctors should get involved in this consultation and be part of the changes that work better for us.’

The consultation follows on from independent reviews of revalidation, such as Sir Keith Pearson’s 2017 review of medical revalidation and a 2018 report from the UK Medical Revalidation collaboration (UMbRELLA), which concluded the necessity for further improvement to the process for collecting feedback.

Last year, a Pulse survey completed by 870 GPs revealed that GPs spend an average of 55 hours a year on the revalidation process.

Back in 2017, the GMC said that patients should give feedback after every interaction, which would go straight into their revalidation portfolio.

Readers' comments (44)

  • Cobblers

    I said it many years ago and will say it again.

    Medicine is NOT a popularity contest.

    The GP with unfailingly good feedback is more likely to be the doctor who gives antibiosis for viral infections, sick notes for spurious reasons, letters to the Council, OTC scripts to name but a few.

    The Doc Martins (ITV) of this world would score badly but whom would you rather see if you were genuinely ill?

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  • Don’t they realise that not all our patients are nice, reasonable people? Some are horrible unpleasant people whose “feedback” should be disregarded

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  • Has anybody ever thought of all GP stopping their GMC registration at once and refuse to pay fees? Let GMC struck all GP off lets see what will GMC do ? They possibly cannot struck all GP in country at one go . GMC seems seems to be working in some different world than rest of the GP

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  • lol anyone need any more convincing of voting for a smaller government? For LESS socialism via the state? You give them your tax, this is what they come up with... Angus? Do good? Anyone wanna play devils advocate?

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Dont moan - do the GMC consultation survey now.

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  • Funny how things come around my first CQC inspection they actually suggested (seriously) that feedback was helpful and a box with red/yellow and green counters could be used and checked daily!

    As Cobblers says probably run out of reds!!!

    Really need something mildly inconvenient but non-fatal to get out of this madness on full whack!!

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  • Meanwhile the GMC continues to ignore feedback from Doctors.

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  • The GMC consultation survey is not anonymised. Who on earth would trust this organisation to not store critical feedback and use it against them subsequently?

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  • The registration process for the consultation survey asks personal questions that I just don’t trust the GMC to hold impartially and in confidence. I’m actually quite surprised at the depth to which my distrust of my regulator has sunken.

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  • Agree anon also quite difficult to register you'd think they don't want us to do it.

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