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Multi-Source Feedback (MSF)

Multi-Source Feedback (MSF)

Doctors due for revalidation are required by the GMC to have undertaken Colleague Feedback (and Patient Feedback) and to provide details of these activities at their annual appraisal.  This is also referred to as Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) or 360 degree feedback.  All doctors are expected to seek such feedback from colleagues at least once in every 5-year revalidation cycle.

The feedback should be used formatively as a reflective learning and development tool to identify strengths and areas for possible development and improvement in a doctor's practice, to inform their continuing professional development.

MSF is also used as one of several pieces of supporting information that, when considered together, will inform the decision by their RO as to whether a doctor should be recommended for revalidation.

A variety of Multi-Source Feedback tools are available from commercial providers as well as some royal colleges for this purpose.

In September 2011 the Scottish Government commissioned NES to develop a colleague questionnaire that would be suitable for all doctors in Scotland. This questionnaire is available as a web resource and is free to use for doctors registered with and using SOAR (login to SOAR in "Appraisee" role and click on "MSF" from the menu and follow the on-screen instructions).

More information on the NES MSF Questionnaire

What is Colleague Feedback (MSF)?

Colleague Feedback is a process in which colleagues give you feedback on how they perceive you work with them. It looks at a number of attributes applicable to all doctors rather than your individual clinical skills and knowledge. The feedback is usually obtained using an anonymous questionnaire.

Colleague Feedback is often referred to as Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) or 360 degree feedback.

What is the purpose of Colleague Feedback (MSF)?

The purpose of MSF is to provide you with an opportunity to reflect on the feedback received and to compare it with your own self-assessment. It is hoped that this will reinforce good practice and provide opportunities for development. The feedback can provide information about important qualities you demonstrate as a doctor, such as integrity, respect and the ability to communicate and work as a team member, and how these are perceived by those you work with.

How does it work?

The doctor seeking feedback (you) invites colleagues to complete a short questionnaire. Colleagues are selected from those with whom you work on a regular basis and from across your practice. For example other doctors, nursing colleagues, administrative staff, managerial staff, allied health professionals, other health professionals and reception staff.

In most systems, including the NES MSF tool and the GMC Colleague Questionnaire, the doctor also completes a self assessment questionnaire. In most systems the questionnaire includes questions with a scale and space for free text comments.

The results are then collated and a summary report is provided to the doctor. (The NES MSF web based system does this electronically). You are encouraged to reflect on:

  • the report;
  • any differences in the scores you gave yourself and the average scores given by others;
  • any areas highlighted as particular strengths; and
  • any areas where development or change might be required.

Is it fair?

Research suggests that if enough colleagues participate, then the scores will be consistent across different "raters". This applies whether you selected the raters or the raters are selected for you.

However, individual people may see you differently and may score you differently. Some may work with you in different settings. Some raters will work closely with you in a clinical setting; others may only see you at the beginning and end of sessions or clinics to debrief on the administration. Free text comments are one individual's view and this should be borne in mind when looking at the results.

Should I talk to someone about the results?

Most MSF systems recommend that you discuss your results formally with someone within a few days of receiving them. This could be a trusted colleague, an appraiser or any other trained facilitator. The reasons for this are that it can be very helpful to talk through the results; fresh insights and understanding may come from this. The feedback may also generate powerful feelings in the recipient which he/she may benefit from exploring with another person.

Related Documents

Structured Reflective Template - MSF

Document designed for electronic completion

Date updated: 26/04/2021

Size: 97280 - KB

Type: doc

This page was last updated on: 21/11/2022