The purpose of gathering and reflecting on compliments and complaints is to identify areas of good practice, strengths and what you do well; to identify areas for improvement, lessons learned and any changes to be made as a result; to demonstrate you value patients’ and others’ concerns and comments about your work by making changes as a result of the feedback you have received.
You must declare and reflect on all formal complaints made about you at your appraisal for revalidation.
You should also reflect upon any complaints you receive outside of formal complaints procedures, where these provide useful learning. You do not have to discuss every complaint at your appraisal. You should select those that evidence your insight and learning into your practice, and those that have caused you to make a change to your practice. You must be able to explain to your appraiser, if asked, why you have chosen these complaints over others as part of your appraisal discussion.
At your appraisal you should discuss your insight and learning from the complaints, and demonstrate how you have reflected on your practice and what changes you have made or intend to make.
You should follow the same principles for collecting, discussing and reflecting on compliments.”
Compliments are important sources of evidence that can facilitate reflection on your practice. They are a source of learning and reinforcement. Collecting, discussing and reflecting on compliments gives you the opportunity to affirm areas of strength in your practice and their positive impact on patient care. This will help you understand what your patients and others you interact with every day think you do well. Reflecting on compliments can help you further develop areas of strength.
You have a professional obligation to declare any formal complaints made about you or your practice at your annual appraisals, and to discuss these with your appraiser as appropriate. Formal complaints are those received about you or your team that have been formally acknowledged or recorded by you or the organisation to which it was sent.
Think broadly about sources of compliments and complaints about you or your team across your whole scope of practice. This may include complaints that have been addressed through organisational complaints policies and procedures; complaints you might have resolved informally without the need for formal escalation; complaints investigated by regulatory bodies, for example, ombudsmen, inspection agencies, or the GMC.
You might not have any complaints or compliments in which you are personally named. If this is the case, you can consider reflecting on other relevant local complaints or compliments that helped you to change your practice or confirm good practice you already do.
Remember - Confidentiality
Original documents may include identifiable information. You may prefer to bring these documents to your appraisal rather than redacting and uploading to MARS, and focus in your MARS entry on an anonymised summary of the issues, your reflection and any changes to your practice.
The MARS template is there to help you, and ensure that the relevant points are covered.
If a complaint in which you have been named goes on over several years, you do not need to reflect on it in detail at every appraisal if no significant progress has been made, but you should acknowledge that there is an ongoing complaint every year in your annual declaration, and include reflection about it at least once in every revalidation cycle.
It’s important to read the probity statements and declarations carefully and complete the responses before each appraisal.