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Practice to pilot text messaging feedback for Friends and Family Test

A GP practice is set to become the first in the country to collect friends and family test feedback via text-messaging to boost response rates among younger patients.

Leeds West CCG is commissioning the pilot of the text message scheme, which has been shown to double the number of responses in acute care settings compared with paper feedback forms.

Patients of Burton Croft Surgery in Headingley, Leeds will be the first in the country to feedback on their care by text, and if the pilot proves successful it will be rolled out to all member practices.

The text system was developed by patient communications company DrDoctor and asks patients how likely they would be – on a six point scale - to recommend the practice to their friends and family.

The Friends and Family Test was introduced in hospitals last year as a means of quality testing services, and CCGs are required to roll the scheme out to their general practices by the end of 2014.

However CCG leaders were doubtful about the merits of extending the scheme to GPs and warned that it could be used to ‘beat up NHS staff’.

Leeds West CCG’s executive director of nursing, quality and communications, Diane Hampshire, explained the Friends and Family Test was important because it looked at more than just outcomes.

She said: ‘We get to know how people felt, what was good and where we need to improve.’

‘Listening to what patients tell us is very important so that we can capture their views to help us work with our members to share good practice and to continually improve the quality of primary care services.’

Research by Dr Doctor found that 52% of patients would prefer to receive more communication about the care they receive by text message. In acute settings, feedback rates using text have been over 40%, compared to just 19% when paper forms are used.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Secondary care has some degree of restriction in the demand they recieve as primary care is acting as a gate keeper so they may be able to meet the increased demand - we have no capacity. It is ridiculous to apply what may be a reasonable for secondary care (and even this, I doubt) to primary care. It's infection control all over.

    p.s. how would hospitals react if the feed back from patients are "I would like to access secondary care directly without involving my GP"? I very much doubt they'll be able to cope.

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  • LOL ]]]:(

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  • At Salford Health Matters CIC we have been collecting friends and family test feedback via text messaging since November 2013.
    We send a text message to all those patients who had an encounter (face to face or by telephone) in the previous week. This measn the data is fairly live, and has removed some of the bias of the paper survey method.
    In the true spirit of the net promoter score methodology (of which the NHS friends and familly test is a version) we telephone all patients who respond that there are either 'unlikely' or 'extremely unlikely' to recommend us. We then use this qualitative information to make positive improvements to our services. It is therefore more than a numbers game.
    Fortunately, the numbers of phone calls we need to make are few!
    Our reception teams take ownership of the feedback from patients and put in place improvements at the 'front of house'.
    In doing so, we have created a system of continuous feedback, with action taken at the level closest to the patient.
    I hadn't realised we were the first GP practice in the country to do this until I read this article!

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  • Kathrine Thomson

    We have included the Friends & Family questions in some of the 2013/4 patient surveys we did for our clients, who were completing the patient reference group DES. We are just collating the data now. The comments are useful but the scores are not as helpful at present. We have also compared the scores across ten Practices.

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