GPs have been warned they risk breaching their contract if they fail to submit July’s Friends and Family Test results, after some areas have seen significant drops in responses.
The response rate for the FFT from London practices fell to 57% in May, a drop of 13% on April’s results and the lowest of any English region.
The South was the next region lowest performing area, with 68% of practices submitting data, followed by Midlands and East (70%) and the North (72%).
But the latest NHS England figures for June reflect that measures taken to boost GP awareness of the rules had begun to take effect, with responses increasing 13% in London – compared to 7% nationally.
Pulse reported in May that Londonwide had warned a quarter of practices had not consistently submitted FFT data, but that NHS England would not initially issue breach of contract notices.
In a newsletter to member practices Londonwide LMCs state: ‘We are aware that there must be confusion for practices about the data required for F&F test because NHS England has the monthly returns that show that many practices have not submitted regularly and some, not since it was introduced.’
It adds that some practices did not submit because of IT errors, because they thought it did not apply to them or because they thought this was a one-off submission exercise.
But the letter warns ‘We must remind practices that if you do not submit F&FT data monthly for three consecutive months you will be in breach of your contracts and risk having a breach notice issued to you.’
‘Monthly submissions of the data you collect from F&FT must be submitted on the 12th working day in the month after the data is collected. July’s data is due on the 18th August.’
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘The number of practices submitting friends and family data went up by 7% in June and the overall number of responses was 8.6% higher. Our priority continues to be to support the small number of practices experiencing difficulties in collecting and returning friends and family data to identify and overcome these problems.’
Pulse revealed at the start of the month that practices’ positive results from the Friends and Family test were being underestimated because NHS England was not differentiating between patients giving a negative score and those responding ‘don’t know’.
This story was edited on 20 August to include NHS England’s statement and the latest results from June.