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Go back to basics for revalidation feedback

Multi-source feedback (MSF) is an obligatory part of revalidation. It consists of patient and peer feedback using approved questionnaires. GMC guidance says this feedback should be evaluated by an outside organisation rather than by doctors themselves.

Paper-based questionnaires are accepted for patients, but most providers only offer an online option for colleague feedback.

I am a single-handed GP in Kent and used two providers for colleague feedback, one email-based and the other paper-based. My local area team had requested a minimum of 15 peer responses. I provided the email MSF provider with the email adresses of the practice staff and the secretaries of consultants and practitioners I had referred patients to in the past year.

The email feedback resulted in six responses – four from my own practice staff and one locum, and just two responses and one refusal from approximately 40 hospital colleagues.

My concern grew as the appraisal date drew closer, with my appraiser warning me that no MSF meant no revalidation.

So I found a company that would process a paper-based colleague MSF. We sent out a similar number of questionnaires (43) and received 33 responses. I included the local care homes as their healthcare assistants probably have a better view of patient consultations than anyone else.

In my experience of approaching a more or less random sample of recent peers instead of asking acquaintances, the paper version brings a markedly higher response – 77% – compared with 5% from an email-based service.