Doctors agree on need for self assessment

2 minute read

Doctors accept the need to reflect on the quality of their work, but only half think they should monitor colleagues


Australian doctors accept the need to reflect on the quality of their medical practice, but only about half agree they should monitor the work of colleagues, a survey prepared for the Medical Board has found.

The board commissioned the survey as part of its consideration of whether to introduce a system of revalidation as a “more proactive step” to ensure fitness to practice and to protect the public. 

More than 3000 medical practitioners gave responses on their attitudes and awareness concerning professional development and maintaining competence in the survey conducted in May-June. 

“Doctors typically see self-assessment and reflecting on their own practice as important and undertake both of these on a regular basis,” the survey report said. 

“Discussing their practice with other doctors is also seen as important, although less so.”

Almost all doctors thought maintaining professional competence was a matter of personal responsibility and were confident they were doing enough.

Most doctors agreed current CPD arrangements were working well to ensure quality care, with only 15% saying they would support an increase in the amount of CPD activities.

While two-thirds of doctors agreed they should undergo periodic reviews throughout their careers, a quarter disagreed. 

Fewer than one-third accepted they should undergo periodic examinations.

While the majority of doctors thought they should report impaired or incompetent colleagues, only half agreed they should review other doctors’ quality of care, while one in five disagreed.

A concurrent survey of the general public found doctors were rated the most trusted professionals, along with nurses and pharmacists.

The most important factors for having confidence and trust in a doctor were demonstrated medical skills and knowledge, being up to date with medical developments, being experienced and monitoring outcomes. 

The vast majority of the public thought doctors should be reviewed from time to time, with half the respondents saying reviews should occur every two years. But most people knew little or nothing about how doctors were reviewed. 

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