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GPs to receive cash rewards for good performance on Friends and Family Test

GP practices will have financial incentives linked with their performance on the Friends and Family Test and patients will be able to complete the test online for all NHS services by 2015, says NHS England.

The NHS England business plan, published yesterday, said NHS patients will be asked to answer the test online that asks patients if they would recommend the care they received to their family or friends.

Chief executive Sir David Nicholson said that it would ensure that patient’s voices are heard, but the GPC questioned whether it was a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

NHS England said providers will be ranked on a scale of -100 to +100, taking into account the positive versus negative feedback from patients and will be updated monthly.

The test will be introduced for hospitals from this month, with a portion of the hospital performance payment system CQUIN in 2013/14 linked specifically to the payment, and confirmed that CCGs would have to show they had responded to the scores they received to gain their quality premium.

The document stated: ‘All NHS-funded patients will have the opportunity to leave feedback in real time on any service by 2015.’

‘The Friends and Family Test will be introduced for all acute hospital inpatients and Accident and Emergency patients from April 2013 and for women who have used maternity services from October 2013.’

‘CCGs will demonstrate what action they have taken as a consequence of feedback from the Friends and Family Test and work with providers on further roll-out from 2014-15.’

NHS England has set itself a target for the test to help ‘make rapid progress in measuring, understanding and acting on patient experience; and bids to ‘increase the proportion of people, across all areas of care, who rate their experience as excellent or very good’.

The document added: ‘We will use financial incentives to reward performance in relation to the Friends and Family Test.’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said it was likely that the Friends and Family Test would form part of the GP contract in future.

He said: ‘It seems likely it will form part of the contract, but where it sits I don’t know.’

He added that the test is likely to be rolled out by 2015 because it is a political directive, but called for further debate on whether this was appropriate.

He said: ‘The fundamental question is: what added value will it bring? We have had patients surveys for years now and they have fed back results which hardly change year after year.

‘I don’t think practices are very concerned about patients giving them feedback but we need it done in a cost-effective and non-bureaucratic way.’

Earlier this year, the NHS Alliance also argued that the test ‘won’t add anything new’ to currently available patient feedback tools.

Writing in the foreword to the business plan NHS England chief executive David Nicholson, and chair Professor Malcolm Grant, said: ‘The Friends and Family Test will ensure patients’ and their families’ voices are heard and used to help us to deliver better services and guarantee no community is left behind or disadvantaged.’

‘Our key measures of success will be satisfied patients, and staff who feel positive about what they are doing.’

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Readers' comments (10)

  • Peter Swinyard

    This is seriously nonsensical. Easiest way to get good ratings is to give out antibiotics and sicknotes on demand and refer any blighter who demands rather than trying to manage conditions in the practice. Is this good medicine? Is it even remotely cost effective? Two of the worst GPs I have known have practiced like this and the less discerning of their patients thought it was great - one now retired gracefully and the other removed from the performers list by the old PCT for poor performance. Which nit-wit thinks this is a good idea (yes I know, but he surely must resign soon to spend more time with his family....)?

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  • Vinci Ho

    Another survey basically.
    The question is ' are we getting paid for PLEASING rather than TREATING our patients?'
    One can argue that it is only fine line between the two , isn't it???

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  • Pleasing patients and image is everything to the government. There will be no substance remaining in general practice. How Mr Nicholson dares to back something like this is beyond me.

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  • Surely an even easier way to get good feedback is for staff to write it themselves. This would be a massive temptation if money is involved. How can they possibly safeguard against both favouritism and malicious postings...?

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  • This will only work if every patient HAS to give feedback, if only the moaners leave feedback the ratings will be pointless.

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  • This clearly indicates that BMA or RCGP have totally lost its influence and power to stop anything this Government wishes to do or impose upon GPs

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  • Bob Hodges

    It is nonsense really, but the devil's advocate says the real skill in general practice lies in getting people to leave your room happy that they won't be getting anti-biotic associated diarrhoea/thrush, or wasting their time in OPD. If you can convinvce them that it was THIER idea too, you on a double winner.

    It is possible to practice properly and be appreciated for it, if you are open and explain why. My patients absolutely love it when I explain a generic drug switch saves the NHS £200 per year. They feel involved and that they are helping out.!

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  • When the percentages of complaints are rising across the board for GP Practices how likely is it that the GP Practices are going to benefit!

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  • Bob,

    I agree with the principle but it wont happen in reality. My patients thinks GP visits should be done to save taxi fare, complained I actually get holiday as their health needs are more important (true story!), and they can't get an appointment on the same day at exact time specified by them (sorry its 2pm appointment, rather than 5:30pm you've requested, just after your work finishes for your emergency assessment of the cough).

    Many of those are nothing to do with consultation skills or adequat explanation, more false sense of their "rights" installed by the successive governments. And we are now made to be judged on problem they created.......

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  • Ameer Khan

    You cant please everyone... we're dealing with patients, people who are unwell at the time of presentation, they want a problem fixed, the last thing on their mind would be whether the GP wore a blue tie, smelt nice or touched their hand!!!

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