Cake and Comment: How we Gathered Feedback of a Primary Care Occupational Therapy Service in the Project Stage

a blog written by Abbie Murphy and Laura Ruth Evans, Occupational Therapy Students, Glasgow Caledonian University

We are 4th year GCU students on our final placement within a primary care occupational therapy (PCOT) project in Moray, which is part of NHS Grampian. Within primary care, occupational therapy interventions prevent admission and re admission to hospitals and other institutes (Bolt, et al., 2019). The PCOT project in NHS Grampian is funded for two years and is currently halfway through the project stage. We are based at Maryhill health centre in Elgin with one member of the occupational therapy team, however there are four more occupational therapists and four therapy support workers that operate between multiple practices across Moray. The current project within Moray is focused around unscheduled care needs and mostly working with older adults. However, there is scope to develop and expand the service after the project stage, for example mental health interventions, group settings and developing the workforce to be more centred around primary care.

As part of the placement we have been able to engage with and contribute to the project aspect of the service. Increasing literature informing practice can make it difficult for practitioners to keep up with the evidence-base (Aveyard, 2019). As students we have been able to allocate time to look into research articles and present these back to the team. We have also been involved in the creation of a poster presentation for the upcoming annual NES conference. Alongside the above, our placement has been split between patient contact time and gathering feedback about the PCOT service from patients and MDT members through the use of surveys and interviews.

We have experienced many challenges in conducting surveys and interviews, mainly with MDT members who felt bombarded with questionnaires and surveys. The PCOT in Moray’s solution to this was “Cake and Comment”, an idea formulated at the PCOT monthly meeting and tested by Lucy McNeill, the occupational therapist working in primary care in Moray Coast. The basis of cake and comment involved the use of a flip chart which posed the question “How does occupational therapy enhance primary care?”. The flip chart was placed in the staff room of the practice along with cakes, both home-baked and bought. The idea being that this approach is simple, anonymous and an incentive to provide honest feedback. We quickly spread this approach to other practices, including Maryhill in Elgin, practices in Keith and Speyside and also Forres. This approach soon had GPs coming through to the office with constructive feedback about the service, and about the cake and comment approach and peaked interest in the project.

The following quotes are feedback from the cake and comment approach in Moray Coast Practice:

Images: Feedback from Keith, Maryhill and Rinnes Practices (Moray)

“BL**DY BRILLIANT, would be hard to live now without you”

“Wonderful service, upbeat, practical, helpful-a great addition to the Team -Thank you!!!”

 “Patients feel really listened to, they appreciate being able to have a much more holistic assessment than we can offer at the practice”

Later that week we were able to attend the virtual national PCOT meeting and described the cake and comment approach as a fun and informal way of collecting data. This led to more positive feedback about the approach and other occupational therapists attending the meeting from all over the UK felt inspired to explore the cake and comment approach in their own service settings. We hope readers, occupational therapists and any other disciplines who are looking for a relatively stress free and simple way of collecting feedback, may consider adopting the cake and comment approach.


Aveyard, H. (2019) Doing a literature review in health and social care. 4th edn. London: Open University Press.

Bolt M, Ikking T, Baaijen R, Saenger S. (2019) Occupational therapy and primary care. Primary Health Care Research & Development 20(e27): 1–6. doi: 10.1017/ S1463423618000452


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