How To Give & Receive Feedback To Colleagues

Published on: 12 Aug 2022

Guide to colleague feedback

The General Medical Council (GMC) requires all licensed doctors in the UK to gather and present feedback from colleagues at least once in every five-year revalidation cycle. Nonetheless, colleague feedback is not unique to the GMC; it is a core personal and professional development tool utilised by many organisations and professional bodies, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). 

This article will focus on colleague feedback examples and requirements set out by the GMC; other bodies such as the NMC have their own NMC revalidation guidelines in place.


What is Colleague Feedback for?

Colleague feedback is a formal exercise serving as a reflective process in your personal development plan (PDP). Firstly, receiving feedback from people you work with can show you how people you work with perceive your practice.

It is important to gather and reflect upon both positive as well as critical feedback in order to identify areas of strength and improvement. This process also facilitates evaluation of whether changes you implemented based on a previous employee performance review have positively impacted your practice. 

The key to effective feedback is being constructive. Examples of key features of constructive feedback include:

  • Specificity

  • Descriptive, not judgemental

  • Observational, not interference

  • Behaviour-focused

  • Balanced, ie includes both negative as well as positive feedback examples

  • Digestible, avoiding feedback overload


GMC Requirements

The GMC has set out specific requirements for collecting and reflecting upon colleague feedback, which are as follows:

  1.  At least once in your revalidation cycle you must collect, reflect on, and discuss at your annual appraisal, feedback from your colleagues.

  2. The colleagues who are asked to give feedback must be chosen from across your whole scope of practice, and must include people from a range of different roles who may not be doctors.

  3. You must choose colleagues impartially and be able to explain to your appraiser, if asked, why you have chosen the colleagues who have given your feedback.

  4. Wherever possible you should use standard questionnaires that have been validated and are independently administered to maintain objectivity and confidentiality. You must agree to any alternative approaches with your responsible officer.

  5. You must reflect on what the feedback means for your current and future practice.


Colleague Feedback Questionnaires

Most organisations with which you work will have systems in place to facilitate completion of employee performance evaluation by colleagues. If that is not the case, you will have to turn to independent providers. Clarity Appraisals is a well-known and common provider of appraisal and revalidation services. 

Furthermore, standard questionnaires used for colleague feedback must comply with the principles and values articulated in Good Medical Practice; a colleague feedback example questionnaire has been designed by the GMC and can be found on their webpage.



  1. Your supporting information – colleague feedback. General Medical Council.

  1. Making recommendations: colleague feedback. General Medical Council.

  1. Feedback for revalidation. Royal College of Physicians London.

  1. Giving Constructive Feedback. The University of North Carolina Greensborough.