Friends and Family Test 2022 Summary
The Friends and Family Test (FFT) is an NHS-wide programme, but because the main input from patients was a paper form picked up in the surgery, the scheme was suspended at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid the risk of virus transmission.
Budleigh Salterton Medical Centre (BSMC) has re-introduced a version of the FFT. At a time when there was a great deal of negative press coverage of the relationship between patients and GP surgeries, the BSMC was keen to get some feedback which might help the practice to understand how patients felt locally and identify where improvements might be needed.
The FFT was made available through the BSMC website and each month a random 500 invitations were sent by text message to patients who had either a face-to-face consultation or a telephone consultation in the month concerned.
Current NHS guidance on the FFT can be seen on the NHS England website.
FFT Summary for 2022
This is the text message that was sent each month to the 500 patients selected at random:
“If you have recently had a consultation (either over the telephone or in person), we would like to invite you to leave feedback regarding your experience through this link: Friends and Family Test Many thanks for your time. Budleigh Medical Centre”
The question was:
- "How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?"
- Options for answering this question range from “Extremely likely” to “Extremely unlikely”. It is followed by a question calling for a free-text answer:
- “Could your last visit/telephone consultation have been improved and, if so, how?
The options for a response and the results for the whole year 2022 were as follows:
- Extremely likely 80%
- Likely 10.7%
- Neither likely nor unlikely 3.9 %
- Unlikely 3.2%
- Extremely unlikely 0.7%
The total number of responses is relatively low. Only 280 replies were received from a total of 6000 texts sent (4.7%). However, the percentage of positive responses is high (90.7%).
Looking at all the comments (answers to the free-text question) for each month of the survey, a number of themes can be identified, as outlined below.
The most popular answer was simply “no” (the last visit could not be improved).
- A significant number of responses took the “no” a stage further and added comments like “perfect”, or “no need for improvement”.
- Many responders took the opportunity to thank the BMC, eg “I am always pleased with the care Budleigh Medical Centre provides. Thank you”.
- Some responders took the opportunity to highlight the quality of service provided by individuals, eg “Dr **** could not have been more helpful, clear in her advice and dealing with the matter so speedily.” “Reception staff and community nurses are all superb in handling problems.”
- Delay/difficulty in making appointments eg: “Telephone lines always busy first thing but I understand the demand and I have the time to wait. Others may not”. “It took 25 minutes to get through and still no appointment absolutely pointless.”
- Unsatisfactory telephone consultations, eg: “More face to face consultations needed, difficult to understand how some signs and symptoms can be spotted over the phone leaving the feeling that the patient may be getting an inferior service.”
- Difficulty in making an appointment to see a particular doctor eg: “Speaking to the same doctor instead of speaking to 5 others at different times regarding the same problem.” “More personal contact. I don't want 'a doctor' I want my doctor.”
The FFT provides the practice with some useful feedback, which offers opportunities for improvement. It also gives patients the opportunity to express their views about the practice and the service they have received.
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