Dr Davies is a senior practicing GP and respected leader with past roles in Clinical Commissioning Groups and as a Primary Care Network clinical lead. Reflecting on his experience with patient and colleague feedback, Dr Davies generously shares his insight and advice for those new to the process.
When introduced to the concept of receiving patient and colleague feedback, Dr Davies was slightly nervous and sceptical about whether it would provide value to his working life.
Dr Davies perceived analysing feedback from colleagues in a formal and structured way to be more challenging than receiving patient feedback. Doctors are trained to work with patients and expect them to give feedback on how they’ve performed. But outside of medical school, gathering colleague feedback was not something his generation were used to. When undertaking this process for the first time, Dr Davies acknowledged a sense of nervousness as to what the results might show.
Having experience across the sector and in particular with the Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Davies was familiar with CFEP Surveys and their work with the General Medical Council (GMC) around patient feedback mechanisms.
Dr Davies decided that the CFEP360 Patient and Colleague Survey would meet his needs best. He was reassured by the fact this survey had been used as the source validation for the GMC patient and colleague feedback questionnaires. And CFEP Surveys’ thorough analysis of data including benchmarking against peers in his field appealed to him.
Dr Davies was as confident as he could be with the reputation of CFEP Surveys given his natural scepticism and unfamiliarity with the process.
Dr Davies found the process of engaging CFEP Surveys simple enough. The more he spoke with the Reports Team, the more comfortable he began to feel about the process.
However, when Dr Davies first received his patient feedback he was a little disappointed. In particular, he had scored lower than he expected on some skills around empathy with patients.
Dr Davies appreciated the framework used by CFEP Surveys, nominating a trusted Supporting Medical Colleague at the beginning of the process made it possible – if not easy – to work through the data.
Dr Davies offered us an important insight about receiving feedback and it’s something we like to share with all practitioners:
“Remember the positives because your first inclination often as a doctor is to go straight to the negatives – and then see what these may mean for you in practise.”
Through this process, Dr Davies was able to identify key communication skills needed with patients and learn simple techniques to use during consultations. It many cases it was a good reminder of things that he had learnt at medical school – the skills and techniques that had drifted in the course of a general practice career.
On the other hand, Dr Davies found that his colleague feedback didn’t reveal anything completely new about his strengths and weaknesses. But he did find it very powerful to compare how he had rated himself on the self-rating scale against the feedback provided by his colleagues. He valued the feedback being presented in a structured format. The difference between these two ratings was where he was truly able to identify previously unknown learning and improvement opportunities.
What Dr Davies valued most of all about the process was having robust benchmarks, because these change with time. Having repeated the survey again as part of his next revalidation cycle, he was able to look for improvement and compare his progress.
The result over time has shown Dr Davies receiving substantially higher scores on patient feedback. He notes that although there are always areas for improvement, patients genuinely seem to be happier with the consultations he has with them.
In summary, Dr Davies says:
“I think like a lot of things in life it perhaps shows you where a few rough edges are. But more importantly, can signpost you to ways to improving that. For all of us in whatever stage in our career, we have got something to learn from our colleagues and also of course from our patients.”
His trepidation removed, Dr Davies would now advise his medical colleagues to embrace the process as an opportunity for genuine reflection and self-improvement as he did – because ultimately it made him a better practitioner.