From Dr Roger Neal, Henlow, Bedforshire
Last November you published a story about the Friends and Family Test; its top line was: “’The Friends and Family Test (FFT) can provide staff with ‘morale boosting feedback’ as GPs are able to pick and choose the patients they ask to complete it, NHS England has said a few weeks before its launch’.
Other than yet another administrative burden I initially had no particular concerns about the FFT, that is until NHS Choices started using the data on their website for every prospective patient to see.
In May 2015 we had 21 FFT responses; 11 were ‘Extremely likely’ or ‘Likely’, four were ‘Neither Likely or Unlikely’, one ‘Unlikely’ and five responses were ‘Don’t knows’. There has recently been extensive new house building within our practice area and we also look after the families of a nearby forces base, mostly young and healthy but transient. Such patients therefore have limited experience of using our practice and are more likely to respond as ‘Don’t knows’ to such questioning.
The rub is that NHS Choices appears to be publishing the results on a monthly bases not accumulatively and more worryingly uses the ‘don’t knows’ within their calculation of recommendation as a negative response. For us this resulted in NHS Choices using our May data showing that only 52% (11/21 x 100) of patients would recommend our practice ie 48% wouldn’t. This is a grossly unfair simplification of the statistics. If you exclude the ‘don’t knows’ we would get 68% recommendation.
Our practice has no intention of manipulating this data as previous months’ responses are all far more favourable with no or few ‘don’t knows’ but perhaps others may think otherwise? My staff and I are failing to have our ‘morale boosted’ by the FFT. More FFS than FFT.