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Friends & Family Test

What is the Friends and Family Test?

The NHS has asked all providers to provide patients with the opportunity to provide feedback, following their treatment. This is known as the Friends and Family Test (FFT).

It has to be at least two questions, the first being a closed question “…would you recommend…. to your friends and family..” to which the answers vary from “Extremely likely” through to “Extremely unlikely”. This is then followed by a request to leave a comment.

Starting 1st December 2014, all GP practices must offer these two questions to patients, following every episode of treatment. They then need to collate and analyse the data, report the summaries to NHS England and then look at the comments for common themes to make service improvements. NHS England will then publish the FFT score on a national public website.

Cumulative results from January 2015 to February 2016 are shown below (based on 2131 replies).

Extremely likely

LikelyNeither likely or unlikleyUnlikelyExtremely unlikleyDont know

Overall, it can be seen that 94.5% of those responding would recommend our practice to family and friends if they needed similar treatment.

How we are reflecting and acting on the results 

Key theme:Comment
The number of times that appointments running late is mentionedDiscussed with all GPs at a meeting in November. Everyone does appreciate that patients would much prefer not to have to wait, especially an extended wait, to see a clinician. However, patients do present with complex physical and/or emotional needs that simply cannot be accommodated in a brief 10 minute consultation. Clinicians will prioritise patient care over waiting times when they consider it necessary. 
The check-in system does advise patients that a clinician may be running late, but most people will not see/read that message. 
Action taken: Video added to the TV system to explain why doctors sometimes run late. Article in the Autumn 2015 newsletter

Difficulties getting a convenient appointment

We do note that there are comments about problems getting an appointment. We do regularly review our appointments system to see if we can improve but the main problem is growing demand to see a GP at a time when primary care funding is being cut. The system we have is, we believe, the best compromise we are funded to offer.
Action: keep the appointments system under review

Short notice cancelling of phlebotomy in the mornings

We do sometimes have to cancel phlebotomy at short notice due to staff sickness. The fact is that we carry no "spare" people. If someone if sick, then something has to be cancelled. We choose phlebotomy because there is an alternative service at the Isebrook and therefore it is the least disruptive for patients. We do try to offer fasting blood tests for the first hour or so but that has the effect that  treatment area appointments may run later.
Action: None

Ordering medication by email

The idea is understandable but email is not secure and patients' names and medication could be compromised. We have been offering repeat prescription ordering through our secure website for many years. We have no plans to allow prescription requests to be made by email
Action: Considered but not practical for security/confidentiality reasons

Ordering medication over the 'phone

The staff answering the 'phone are not trained to have any in-depth knowledge of drugs. Some drugs have very similar-sounding names; therefore we are concerned that a mistake could be made resulting in patients receiving the wrong medication. Patients not wanting to drop off their medication request slips can order online as an alternative
Action: None - because of an unacceptable risk to patient safety

Opening later in the evenings and Saturday to help working people

We are open on Saturday mornings but we are only funded by NHS England to provide very basic services - that is 1 GP and 1 nurse/HCA. There is no funding for any evening opening. The choice of opening Saturday rather than early/late weekdays was made in consultation with our patient group. Various pilot programmes to test the effectiveness of 7 day opening are being trialled at the moment around the country; initial results suggest that there is little demand for Sunday appointments but that Saturday morning appointments are popular.
Action: Additional opening is not possible without the funding to cover the costs.

Not enough advance appointments

We try very hard to get a balance of advance bookable appointments and same day appointments. We are under huge pressure to provide same day appointments in order to reduce attendances at A & E. More advance appointments could only be made possible by having fewer same day appointments or having more doctors, which is impossible when our funding has been cut so much in real terms. Action: none possible. We are trying our best with the resources we have

Seeing your GP of choice

We do understand that some patients value the continuity of care of seeing the same GP, rather than a different GP everytime they come in. There are two reasons why this is difficult to achieve

1 - We are a training practice which means that we can have as many 5 GPs in training assigned to us for a period of 4 to 12 months.

2 - GPs are increasingly choosing to work part-time because of ever-increasing workloads. A part-time GP is inevitably going to be more difficult to make an appointment with.

We do, where a GP believes there is a clinical need for him/her to see to a patient, endeavour to book an appointment accordingly. But we simply don't have enough GPs to be able to satisfy those patients who want to see a particluar GP because it is their preference. Action: none possible 

This sort of thing is a waste of money which should be spent on servicesThis survey was imposed by the Government on all practices. Participation is mandatory and no funding was given to practices to administer.


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