This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

PM pledges to roll out friends and family test for GPs 'as soon as possible'

The Prime Minister has pledged to roll out the routine recording of a new patient satisfaction measure to GP practices ‘as soon as possible’, with all patients asked if they would recommend the practice to their family or friends.

The commitment to roll out the ‘friends and family test’ to all GP practices comes after the DH has asked the NHS Commissioning Board to come up with proposals on how the test can be rolled out to GP practices over the next 18 months.

The test will be rolled out for acute hospital inpatients and accident and emergency patients from April 2013 and for women who use maternity services from October 2013.

The NHS Commissioning Board was given responsibility for rolling out the friends and family test in the Government’s NHS Mandate - published in November.

Plans to extend the test to GPs have come under fire from the GPC leaders, who argued that GPs cannot always give each patient what they want and are therefore unlikely to be recommended by all patients.

In an announcement today, David Cameron said he wants the test to be rolled out to GP surgeries ‘as soon as possible’.

He said: ‘I want to see patients given a real voice in deciding whether that care is good enough or not. So from April, we will introduce a friends and family test and patient led inspections across all hospitals.

‘The test is a simple measure but crucially will show whether there is a basic standard of dignity, cleanliness and respect. And I want the NHS to go further, with GP surgeries, district nursing and community hospitals using the test to improve the care they provide as soon as possible.’

A DH spokesperson was not able to confirm when the test would be implemented for GPs.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said: ‘Doctors, and the NHS generally, welcome feedback from patients and their families. However, the Friends and Family test that has been piloted so far is based on a model developed to test satisfaction with consumer products. We would like to see a full evaluation of the pilot before it is rolled out more widely, as there may be better ways of getting useful information from patients in a form that allows the NHS to improve services.’


Readers' comments (13)

  • If I refuse to prescribe an inappriopriate drug am I bad Dr?
    If I refuse to refer an inappropriate referral ( as it is deemed by our CCG), am I a bad Dr?
    If you cannot get an appointment with me for a week as I`m booked up ( or even worse on leave) am I bad Dr?
    Using this patient satisfaction survey won`t find out if I`m a good or bad Dr. Plenty of poor performing Dr`s have patients who love them, yet the Dr`s that do what the CCg asks, and don`t open the cookie jar are getting slammed.
    Yet another step demoralising our profession.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Roll out" being done to death here. Implies there is a shiny high tech fully tested programme like a new plane ready to fly. Instead it's whimsical PR puffery ; a Mickey Mouse gimmick ; so often the weekly sound bite that dives down the consumerist drain along with every other government NHS tinkering. Only consolation is there is no "shipping" .., give them time

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There is nothing wrong with being judged on whether we give patients dignity and respect, and I don’t know of a GP that would argue against this. However, experience and current rock bottom moral leads us to expect to be judged not on these parameters but on whether we gave the patient antibiotics the last time we saw them, or referred them to the specialist they felt they needed to see. This might or might not be the case but either way it is the reason for the string of doubtful posts that I am sure will follow. Medicine is not a popularity contest. It is about good advice. Just because politicians treat politics as a popularity contest, doesn’t mean it is wise for us to do so – especially if they want us to concurrently hit all of the targets on reduced NHS spend and antibiotic useage etc etc. Just let me get on with the job that I am so infinitely better trained to do than any politician will ever appreciate and I will deliver all of your targets and so much more.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I just had a telephone call with unhappy elderly couple who wanted DN to come and take their blood pressure as it was too much of a hussle of them to go out - unlike their weekly outing to the local supermarket which obviously is essential. Despite explaining the need for appropriate use of resources, I ended up with grudging pair.

    So, minus mark for me then, unlike my colleague who took the easy rout and said DNs will do them (only for them to refuse hence my involvement).

    By the way, where is the evidence giving individual patient "a voice" improves health care as a whole?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    This is a very 'good ' way for the government to shift the attention away from the real problems in NHS . It has to be done as soon as possible because the government really needs this diversion strategy as more and more people realised what the 'truth' is . Vader's mind control skill is losing its effect . Time to put more blames on the Jedi instead .........

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I suggest a better test to Cameron - Shoukd we ask our family and friend to vote for this govt again, decision will be out in due course at 10 Downing Street.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dignity?
    Save yourselves.......get out while you still can.
    Any lucrative directorships on offer for ex-GP's?
    Thought not.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We already have FFT as a QIPP Practice Incentive.
    There is a problem - patients have long term relationships with practices - and the FFT appears to relate to episodic care/contact.
    So there is a diference: are you trying - in general practice - to find a way of measuring an individual encounter or overall satisfaction?
    And if you are a patient, how will you searate the different aspects?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • General medicine is the most difficult and demand ing profession and in no way you can fulfill and satisfy patient needs,Ccg on one hand is trying to save as much as possible on all sides,how can you expect a good opinion from all patients who already think that we are not doing enough for them.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Peter Swinyard

    Simplistic. Naive. Park it, Mr Cameron, and stop trying to deflect on to GPs the blame for trying to cope with the monstrous workload and burden which you are imposing on us (CQC, Revalidation and CCGs among other things).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say