Doctors should seek patient feedback more than once every five years, say MPs | Revalidation News |

Doctors undergoing revalidation should seek feedback from patients more often than once every five years to ensure that patients have a genuine opportunity to air their views, MPs have said.


Revalidation regulations require that doctors use questionnaires to seek formal feedback from up to 45 consecutive patients (minimum 34) at least once in every five year cycle.


However, MPs on the parliamentary health select committee have argued that the “once every five years” target represents an “excessively long period of time” and that the General Medical Council should consider setting a more “challenging” target.


“We consider that the minimum frequency of feedback stipulated by revalidation—once only in the five year revalidation cycle—risks sending the wrong message to patients about the importance of their feedback to the process,” stated MPs in their report on the second annual accountability hearing with the GMC.


Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the Health Committee and the Conservative MP for Charnwood, said that the current approach made the seeking of feedback into a bureaucratic process that doctors would complete as an “event” once every five years.


He suggested that, rather than completing the patient questionnaire process more frequently, doctors should make collecting and reflecting on feedback from patients a routine part of their practice.


“There ought to be a requirement to demonstrate that as a professional you listen to the views of your patients,” he said. “Most doctors would say that they do it routinely all the time, so the question then is how do you capture that in a process which ensures that good practice.”


He added, “Very few doctors will disagree that they should listen to patients and reflect on what patients say. Let’s take that concept and create a regulatory process that ensures that this happens properly, not as a box to be ticked every five years.”