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The new GP contract has been hailed as a significant breakthrough after last year`s around the 2013/14 negotiations. GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the deal would ‘free up GPs to spend more time focusing on treating patients, but will also mean that valuable resources will be reinvested in general practice to improve frontline care’. More than a third of the QOF will be ditched from April 2014 (a total of 238 points – worth around £290 million), with the funding moved into core pay. The deal will also see ‘friends and family tests’ rolled out to practices across England from December 2014, asking patients if they would recommend their GP practice.
What`s the Question?
The Friends and Family Test is based on one simple question, ‘How likely are you to recommend our service to your friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?’ Patients are presented with six responses ranging from ‘extremely likely’ through to ‘extremely unlikely’. This reminds me of a colleague who always bases his treatment on the question `Would I do this for my sister`, obviously known as the Sister Test! Through this, I am really pleased with the F&F test because I feel it does focus the mind on both service and clinical effectiveness.
There are a number of pilots for this scheme with 36 practices in the country to become an ‘early adopter’ of the Friends and Family Test. A GP practice in Cleckheaton, Parkview Surgery, began the pilot on 1st October and will be asking anyone who has any contact with the surgery to complete a feedback form for the next 12 weeks. The Practice Manager at Parkview Surgery said “As a practice we are always keen to hear what patients think about the service we provide”.
According to PulseOnline, it is not subtle test but may have some usefulness. It has been previously piloted in NHS Midlands and East, the test became mandatory for acute in-patients and patients discharged from A&E on 1 April this year. Early results for hospital A&E and inpatients published last month with some CCGs, such as NHS Calderdale, having been able to bask in the reflected glory of these results. In the first quarter of 2013/14, the two local hospitals in Calderdale achieved a high net promoter score putting the trust in what it termed the ‘excellent category’ of scores of 50 and above.
Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert GP Contributor