The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of feedback provided to specialty trainees (ST3 or higher) in medical specialties during their workplace-based assessments (WBAs). The feedback given in WBAs was examined in detail in a group of 50 ST3 or higher trainees randomly selected from those taking part in a pilot study of changes to the WBA system conducted by the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board. They were based in Health Education Northeast (Northern Deanery) and Health Education East of England (Eastern Deanery). Thematic analysis was used to identify commonly occurring themes. Feedback was mainly positive but there were differences in quality between specialties. Problems with feedback included insufficient detail, such that it was not possible to map the progression of the trainee, insufficient action plans made and the timing of feedback not being contemporaneous (feedback not being given at the time of assessment). Recommendations included feedback should be more specific; there need to be more options in the feedback forms for the supervisor to compare the trainee’s performance to what is expected and action plans need to be made.