Reflective Practice describes the process in which critical thought and contemplation informs personal development and leads to changes in behaviour that can ultimately lead to benefits for patients.  The GMC refers repeatedly to the need for doctors to demonstrate that they have reflected on events in their appraisal folders and the examples given show how this relates to the 6 strands of evidence required to inform revalidation. It is the intent of this resource not only to demonstrate, with examples, how doctors reflect but, and perhaps more importantly, why.  Reflection helps doctors to consider and challenge the value of current practise and in doing so consider the possibilities of change that will bring about improvement in the service they provide.  Moreover, failure to do so can lead to the kind of stagnation that develops into dissatisfaction with care and eventually to complaints.  The doctor’s continued licence to practice depends in large part on avoiding the latter.

Various ‘tools’ are described to help the doctor who is looking for help to recognise and develop those aspects of his/her work that constitute reflective practice but most accomplished clinicians do this in the natural course of their work.  It is a common complaint, however, that professionals make that having to ‘write this down’ is in itself a burden.  One would hope that some of the reflections above give testimony to the added value of doing so.  It is argued forcibly, not least by the GMC itself, that the failure to do so may risk continued registration.