Putting your feedback into action - from the 2020 member survey

As RCPCH Treasurer and Chair of the Membership Committee, Liz Marder reflects on the member survey and why your feedback matters more than ever during the pandemic.

The RCPCH aims to be a responsive and flexible organisation which listens to its members, reviews its performance and holds itself to account and act on what members tell us.

During this extraordinary year opportunities for us to consult with members have been different. The postponement of the conference and AGM, and all our meetings, committees and events being held virtually have meant that we have had little or no face-to-face contact. The 2020 member survey therefore has been a really important tool for us to seek your feedback on the College’s work, including our activities during the pandemic.

Like everyone we have had to adapt our ways of working at great pace to run our business as usual as far as possible with staff working remotely. As well as finding new ways to continue core activities such as exams and events, we have also been involved in lots of new work in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have played a key role in developing policy for children and young people and advice to families, working closely with the Department of Health and NHS departments and with an expert reference group to allow us to make evidence-based decisions in real time. We have endeavoured to provide up-to-date information for members with our COVID-19 research summaries to keep you abreast of the latest information, and have developed guidance for members and the wider community

None of this work of course would have been possible without the remarkable commitment of our many volunteer members and officers. During 2019-20, 3,000 of you actively participated in College life albeit largely by virtual contact since March.

We share anxieties about what the future will hold... We have been heartened to hear that activities we have engaged in to support you through the pandemic have had a positive impact.

We face a difficult winter. Many of us are dealing with difficult emotions relating to separation from friends and family, and for some loss of loved ones. We share anxieties about what the future will hold. At the same time most of us are working very hard to try and maintain children’s health services as far as possible as well as advocate for the children and young people we serve. We have been heartened to hear that activities we have engaged in to support you through the pandemic such as our online resources and wellbeing hub have had a positive impact.

A key theme for this years member survey was equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). We asked you to share demographic data and personal data about gender, ethnicity and disability. This allows us to segment your responses so that we can analyse the experience of specific cohorts of members, for example those with a disability. Following on from our report Putting Ladders Down published early in 2020 we had already made a commitment to be a more diverse and inclusive College. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and ethnic minority health professionals and the Black Lives Matter movement has brought this into sharp focus.

You have given us a clear indication of where you would like the College to focus its efforts in tackling inequalities. This will inform our phase 2 EDI report in February 2021. We recently advertised for members to join our EDI reference group and were delighted at the level of interest that resulted. The group has already started started its work and you will hear much more throughout 2021.

From now on we will conduct the survey every year rather than biennially

The kind of large scale feedback that we can gather through our member surveys is crucial in helping set up priorities and ensuring they are shaped by a diverse range of member’s views. We have therefore decided that from now on we will conduct the survey every year rather than biennially. Previous surveys have had around a 10% response rate, but this year we set ourselves an ambitious target of 20% response rate. Although we did not meet this target we did achieve a 15% response rate, so a significant increase on previous years.

One of our key goals this year was to reduce the time it took to complete the survey, being mindful of the time pressures for busy clinicians as well as survey fatigue. We were pleased that the average completion time was reduced by 30%. You will see in future surveys that some questions reappear. This allows us to benchmark our performance against key objectives overtime.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the survey, and in helping us shape the College for the future.

 Please do take the time to read the findings of the survey, and our action plan for how we’ll deliver on what you told us. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to membership@rcpch.ac.uk.