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Friends and Family Test is ‘unrepresentative’, says college lead

The Friends and Family Test being rolled out to general practice next month is ‘not at all appropriate’, a leading member of the College of Emergency Medicine has said.

The test, which becomes a contractual requirement for GPs at the start of December, was also criticised for its polarised responses, which were unrepresentative of the patients being seen.

Speaking at at a Westminster Health Forum event on delivering seven-day services in London today, Dr Adrian Boyle, chair of the college’s quality in emergency committee, said there was a lack of evidence on which to base reforms.

He told delegates: ‘We’re not very good at patient-centred care, I don’t think the Friends and Family Test is at all appropriate. It has an 11% response rate from people attending emergency departments. And invariably, people’s responses are delighted or disgusted, they either give a one or a five on the scale.’

He added: ‘The other problem is, we don’t have any evidence to support or intuitively make supportive steps[…] I’m fairly certain the 11% who took part in that survey, and it [the Friends and Family Test] is a survey, are not representative of the patients we look after.’

Pulse revealed this week that NHS England said practices will be able to pick and choose the patients they ask to complete it.