Assoc Prof Michael Greco

PhD, BSc (Hons) B.Theol., Grad. Dip.Teach (Sec); GAICD

Co-Founder

Assoc Prof Michael Greco is the Co-Founder of CFEP and an immensely well-respected healthcare academic in both his home country of Australia and the United Kingdom (UK). His work has been instrumental in the development of robust patient and colleague feedback mechanisms as a platform for improving patient care.

Michael’s academic background is focused on healthcare, evaluation and clinical pastoral education, and includes a PhD in medical education and a Bachelor of Theology. It was an extension of his work on improving patient experience and upskilling of clinicians’ communication skills which brought him to the UK.

Michael was invited to come to the UK by the then President of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Dame Professor Lesley Southgate. Michael and his family arrived in late 1999, just prior to the modernisation of the National Health Service (NHS). A key part of this work, as outlined in the new NHS plan, was more focus on patient engagement in healthcare. Michael brought with him his experience of working on patient feedback with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) in Australia.

Michael served four years as an Associate of Patient Experience for the NHS National Clinical Governance Support Team, and was Head of Patient Involvement for the National Primary Care Development Team (Modernisation Agency). He was also a and Senior Lecturer at the Exeter and North Devon Research and Development Support Unit, Postgraduate Medical School, University of Exeter.

Michael’s passion is supporting those providing care and support to people in positions of vulnerability. His personal journey to become a leading expert on patient feedback methods is fascinating and also provides some insight into the nature of CFEP.

Michael originally studied environmental science at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. It was while working on his thesis on the impact of institutional living on intellectually impaired adults that got him thinking more broadly about his life and resulted in a complete change in direction.

Michael completed a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching and joined the Franciscan Friars, a Catholic Religious Order. His ministry included high school teaching, hospital chaplaincy at both the Royal North Shore Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital (Sydney), prison chaplaincy at Pentridge Prison (Melbourne) which included extremely challenging work in the protected areas of the prison and supporting criminally insane people. Of this period Michael says his most satisfying and enjoyable time was working with marginalised young people and street kids in Sydney’s Kings Cross and Melbourne’s St Vincent de Paul program for young people needing accommodation.

When he completed his theology study and pastoral care work in 1992 Michael went on to become an Evaluation Officer as part of the Royal Australian College of Practitioners (RACGP) training program for GP Registrars. Michael is proud to have been first ever ‘non-medical’ lecturer to become a medical educator for GP training in Australia and was privileged to have sat in on many patient consultations, pastorally assisting doctors with their communications and relational skills.

It was at this time Michael established a private company to process the information gained through this work as he worked on his PhD on the impact of patient feedback in GP training.

For Michael the highlight of his career so far has been being invited to the UK to work on improving patient engagement in the NHS and helping to shape the Quality Outcomes Framework for general practice, working with tens of thousands of GPs across the UK.

Michael met many people working in the healthcare sector – some with very impressive titles, careers and backgrounds – and he is still good friends with many of them today including regular emails and phone calls and sometimes meeting face to face.

However the most satisfying aspect of Michael’s work is what he describes as ‘the lightbulb moment’ when professionals come to understand the importance of the humanistic element of care. He loves hearing their stories and how they feel like they’ve made a difference to patient’s lives as a result of that development.

Michael is delighted with the cultural changes he has seen in the healthcare sector over the past three decades. Both in the care of patients and the readiness and willingness to accept what the patient voice has to offer in terms of improving patient safety and the quality of their care.

Michael’s main concern is a trend to apply the general ‘review’ style technology to medical professionals. He believes that the TripAdvisor style of technology does not work well in healthcare. It doesn’t pick up on the nuances of care and something more moderated is required. After all, we’re not talking about restaurants or hotels, we’re talking about people and how we care for them.

Michael’s work in patient and colleague feedback mechanisms has been published extensively. Learn more about some of his academic papers.