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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.