Acceptability and educational impact of a peer feedback model for significant event analysis

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A model of independent, external review of significant event analysis by trained peers was introduced by NHS Scotland in 1998 to support the learning needs of general practitioners (GPs). Engagement with this feedback model has increased over time, but participants' views and experiences are largely unknown and there is limited evidence of its educational impact. This is important if external feedback is to play a potential role in appraisal and future revalidation.


The study aimed to explore aspects of the acceptability and educational impact of this external feedback model with participating GPs.


Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine GPs. Participants were sampled to reflect their level of learning need (low, moderate or high) to gain a range of views and experiences. Transcribed interviews were analysed for content.


This system of external peer feedback is generally acceptable to participants. It complemented and enhanced the appraisal process. External feedback had positive educational outcomes, particularly in imparting technical knowledge on how to analyse significant events. Training issues for peer reviewers were suggested that would further enhance the educational gain from participation. There was disagreement over whether this type of feedback could or should be used as supporting evidence of the quality of doctors' work to educational and regulatory authorities.


The findings add to the evidence for the acceptability and educational impact of external review by trained peers. Aligning such a model with the current national appraisal system may provide GPs with a more robust demonstration of participation in reflective learning.

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