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GP list cleansing and Friends and Family Test suspended to focus on Covid-19

NHS England has suspended the Friends and Family Test for GP practices and paused all list cleansing activity in a bid to free up time to focus on Covid-19.

In a letter to practices, published yesterday, NHS England said it has amended contractual regulations to suspend:

  • Data submissions for the The Friends and Family Test;
  • List cleansing activities by Primary Care Support England (PCSE);
  • Giving patients online access to full historic patient record

It also reiterated plans to suspend QOF reporting and give automatic payment and ‘pause’ the NHS complaints process for three months.

On list cleansing, the letter said: ‘We have instructed PCSE to pause all routine list reconciliation and data quality checks.’

But it added: ‘This does not include activities required to ensure new patient registrations are processed in a timely manner (for example responding to rejected registration queries or processing changes of identity such as adoptions), which are essential to ensure patients are registered and therefore able to access primary medical services.’

Regarding FFT data, the letter said practices ‘do not need to keep a count of responses collected during the suspension period and there will be no penalties for not complying with any part of the FFT guidance during this period’.

But it added that it ‘remains as important as ever to listen to patients and enable them to raise concerns about the services they are using’.

‘FFT can still be a route for them to do this but you should avoid any methods that have a risk of infection such as feedback cards or tablets,’ NHS England said.

And it said the new 2020/21 contractual requirement for all patients to have online access to their prospective record, and to their full historic record on request, could be delayed.

‘We recognise that practices are unlikely to have capacity to grant access to patients’ full historic records during the outbreak,’ the NHS England said.

The letter also said practices must open up their appointment books to direct booking from NHS 111’s Covid clinical assessment service (CCAS).