Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: We must look at the whole impact of revalidation

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 29 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2323

Vile slurs on feedback documents

McCartney’s articles mention about her colleagues receiving “vile slurs” on feedback documents.<1, 2> That illustrates a flaw in the 360-degree feedback – it allows others to anonymously attack you. As McCartney describes, this kind of feedback is not different from “bullying.” Although the intent of feedback should be constructive, there is no damage control on these vile slurs on feedback. The feedback tends to be anonymous, and thus not allowing anyone to cross-examining the witness and evidence. Your supervisors may not have the time and resource to investigate the accusations made. Their time-saving solution may be telling you to write reflections to cover yourselves, that in turn create more administrative work for you.

The UK Foundation Programme Office's (UKFPO) Situational Judgement Test (SJT) often recommends direct communication with the individuals involved when you have concerns.<3> However, at work, you could simply receive anonymous feedback that does not allow you to explain yourselves. When the reality and exam scenarios are vastly different, it makes you question the validity of the SJT.

While doctors are required to appraise and reappraise time and time again, perhaps someone in authority should also appraise the revalidation process and SJT to determine whether they are practical.

1. McCartney M. Margaret McCartney: The false god of appraisal. BMJ. 2015;351:h4982.
2. McCartney M. Margaret McCartney: We must look at the whole impact of revalidation. BMJ. 2018;361:k2323.
3. Situational judgement test - practice paper. London, UK: UK Foundation Programme; 2017; cited [May 29, 2018]. Available from:

Competing interests: I have been paid for working as a physician, but not writing this letter.

30 May 2018
Eugene Y.H. Yeung
Lancaster, UK