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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)

  • Just Your Average Joe

    GMC - Pandering to patients, while persecuting doctors.

    You pay to be tormented and tortured by them.

    Free at the point of service - should be tax payer funded as they do nothing to help doctors, and run by DOH appointed crony C Massey.

    How is he still in a job, how do we vote him out if the GMC is meant to represent the profession?

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  • |Just Your Average Joe | GP Partner/Principal|02 May 2019 11:00pm

    Since when has the GMC represented us??? No, it is a regulator appointed by the state and hence represents it - supposedly by a mandate from the public. Precisely why the public should be paying for it. The reasons why we have been compelled to pay for it is clear - gutless leaders, and an authoritative state. You want to vote C Massey out? You vote the state out of healthcare. Simples LOL

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  • Its interesting, in industry many of the best / leading companies stopped using KPIs (Key performance indicators) because research showed they were100% altered/ manipulated.... thats right 100%.. because if you didn't you would be seen as falling behind. Customer feedback is only useful in those industries which are trying to capture money paying customers to ensure they give them what they want. It has a much more limited role in our line of work where our job involves declining what we feel to be inappropriate, and we are dealing with all walks of life. An acknowledgment and understanding of this from GMC would be useful....that 'bad' feedback can actually mean the GP is doing their job, but all we get from RCGP in our portfolios is how we must reflect on how to 'improve our performance' in response to negative feedback, which is then in turn used by the legal profession against us... which is one of the many reasons I left General Practice in the UK. We are far too conditioned by the current system and objectors to it are not welcome. I agree with most of the comments above , and mass resignation I still feel is the only pragmatic option left. Why dont we have a statute of limitation by now? At least cut the blood sucking legal profession out of their lucrative fees. It is an absurd system, but then again too many of our leaders in various organisations are doing well out of the current system. We need equity in our profession, not the George Orwell 'some are more equal than others' that we currently have.....Insurance is a lot lower in Australia here and wages higher.... life is generally a lot less stressful down here, theres not much reason for me to come back, I still care about the NHS, and the principle of equality healthcare, but it seems the NHS/the powers that be in the UK don't care about us as a profession......at least thats what their actions convey

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  • Ah excellent. More work. It'll be daily feedback next. Then hourly...

    As previous comments have suggested I am not sure how having glowing 100% positive feedback is ever a good thing - the GP who pleases everyone isn't doing their job correctly IMHO.

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