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‘Friends and family test’ to be rolled out for GP practices

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

The plans may include asking patients to respond to the question on the internet once they have used the practice.

The ‘friends and family test’ was included in the Government’s NHS Mandate in November for hospitals and care homes and asks how likely patients are to recommend a particular NHS service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment.

But it has emerged that the NHS Commissioning Board is also investigating ways to carry out the test for GP practices including inviting patients to answer the question on the internet after using a GP practice.

The DH test will be rolled out for acute hospital inpatients and accident and emergency patients from April 2013, for women who use maternity services from October 2013 and ‘as soon as possible after October 2013’ for all those using NHS services.

The DH said it does not know yet when plans will be actually implemented, but that it will be good for GPs, as it allows them to get feedback almost on a real time basis.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘In the next 18 months the NHS Commissioning Board will investigate ways of carrying out the test for GP practices which are cheaper than that used for other settings.

‘This could include asking patients to respond to the question on the internet once they have used the practice.’

But GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden warned that the test will not reflect the reality of GP care.

He said: ‘This is trite trouble from politicians who have never done a real job. If GPs are expected to exercise a degree of social control, that is very different from flogging widgets at Woolworths, it’s not selling hamburgers at McDonald’s with a faux have-a-nice-day smile on your face.

‘We are being asked to say things to patients they don’t want to hear, and that is not meaning it is bad medicine or you’re a bad doctor.’


Readers' comments (10)

  • Well Diazepam for all, sick notes for the shysters and Abx for neurotics. We will get good reviews. Now the bad or good review has no effect on the patients.
    What a load of Bollocks!

    Make it private then people will pay to see the G.P who they feel is worth their money!

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  • Where can I answer the question about my thought's on the current government?

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  • Harold Shipman would have scored well...

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  • Yet again the DH have nothing better to do that come up with the most insane ideas. I agree with the 1st response....more sick notes/antibiotics or else it will be "I know my rights, I pay my taxes and I want.XXXXXX or I will make a complaint". About time clinicians had a say. Dear DH, get a life and come and have a little dabble in primary care to see what the real world is about. Very angry from Surrey!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Don't we already do this in our patient surveys, so why do we need an Internet for the grumpy disgruntled who like nothing better than to moan that they didn't get what they wanted? When are we going to stand up and say, ' enough'?

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  • It is high time a lot of us quit being doctors and formed a party with a real vision to run this country's government.

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  • If patients really feel that strongly they can already go on NHS choices and leave comments. And yes, in my experience working in several different practices, patients really do use that for both positive and negative!

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  • Being popular is easy. Prescribe everything, refer everything. As with being a good parent, being effective and looking after the whole population means exercising a finely balanced judgement call about what is best and in the patient's and patients' long term best interests. Anyone who doesnt get this hasnt sat in the chair of a GP in a modern busy practice.

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  • I'm sure it won't be long before I'll get

    "If you don't refer/prescribe/test as I ask doctor, I shall be leaving a negative comment about you and the practice on the web site. Now, I suggest you refer me for the nose job, give me 100 diazepam and do MRI of my whole body. And make it quick"

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  • This applies equally to hospital and community medical practice - we all often have to tell patients opinions they don't like, suggest treatments they may not want or agree with (especially in psychiatry),as well as refusing to give inappropriate treatment. Good medicine is frequently the exact opposite of a popularity contest - perhaps there should be awards for doctors rated as least "compliant" by their patients?

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