Domain 3:

Communication, Partnership & Teamwork - MSF

You must undertake Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) once every five years

You must undertake MSF once every five years and your feedback should include a selection of personnel in an out of hours service where you work regularly.

This might include:

  • Medical colleagues
  • Receptionists
  • Nurses
  • Paramedics
  • Drivers
  • Centre manager

It is helpful and far more effective for the OOH service to arrange this as a project to cover all its clinical employees. The key principles are:

  • The respondents should be asked to participate by a third party
  • An explicit statement that they are NOT asked to reveal their identities, but that any named feedback would be helpful
  • That the purpose of the exercise is to help you to identify your strengths and also areas in which you might develop, in a constructive and helpful way
  • The replies are collated by a third party who provides the results to your appraiser in confidence to allow him/her to feed them back to you and to reflect on them

A free MSF tool is available for doctors in Scotland, funded by NES. The process links the MSF with appraisal dates - appraisees have to do the MSF within 6 to 8 weeks of the appraisal to leave sufficient time for raters to provide feedback and reports to be generated for appraisers and appraisees.

For further information first contact your appraiser, and then use the relevant section in the main Toolkit.

Alternative MSF tools

The GMC has developed a tool: it is available as another free option but there is no system in place to receive, analyse and feed back results. You would need to arrange this yourself.

One of the commercially available feedback tools which receives and collates MSF questionnaires can be obtained from Edgecumbe Consulting Group:


Other tools are in the process of development and validation, which may address the issue in a different way.

It is important to highlight that receiving feedback is best done with the help of a trained facilitator. Not all feedback may be positive and you need to be able to evaluate what it means without emotional overlay.

Unfortunately when there is negative feedback people often feel defensive and then act inappropriately, because the information has not been reflected on in context. Is there evidence that the feedback is true? How do other doctors score on this item? Is the adverse feedback a feature of not being well known to the person giving it?

If you work in an organisation only occasionally you may score less well because you are less well known. Other factors which can impinge include difficulties such as low staffing levels or working in a small organisation where there are few people to provide feedback. As stated, if you intend to undertake an MSF survey we strongly advise discussing this with your appraiser in advance.

This page was last updated on: 18/08/2016