Helen Murray - Account Manager

Friends and Family Test – Update

As you know the FFT will be introduced as a contractual requirement from 1st December 2014.   

Rhian and I were invited to NHS England last week for an update on the Friends and Family Test which we thought would be a useful way to gather more information and help us understand how we can fully support you.  Following on from our previous FFT article, I thought I would share some of the information we picked up in relation to the guidance. The official NHS England guidance is hardly what I would call ‘light reading’ and so I have highlighted a couple of key points with the intention of expanding on this over the coming weeks.   We are here to help and if you come across anything that you are unsure of then we will support you in gathering information and understanding the guidance and regulations around FFT.

Some of the comments I have heard out and about on my travels have been things like ‘what’s the point in FFT?’; ‘it is not rocket science to ask 2 questions!’  BUT, have you considered how you are going to implement this?  How are you going to ensure you make FFT inclusive for all; what the impact will be on staff resource - collecting and collating the results; how you are going to present this back to the patients; how you will implement any changes required?  This is going to be yet another time consuming task which you MUST do in order to fulfil your contract.  We can help.

Firstly, if you wish to implement FFT earlier than the required start date then you can do so although you will not have to submit the results to NHS until the official launch.  NHS England say that the reason that the first submission is not due until February 2015 is so that practices have time to embed their methods and have a bit of a head start.  You can also include the ‘question’ as part of a larger survey but you must ask this question first.

Some key points of note:

“Every patient is to be provided with the opportunity to respond to FFT. “

NHS England offered more detail around this statement.  Although it may be difficult to ask every single patient that attends the surgery, you must display and make every patient aware that they have the opportunity to respond.  So a couple of questions that I have already been asked around this by practices are as follows:

‘What about children’? 

All children should be offered the opportunity and encouraged to answer the question themselves although they can be supported by parent or carer in giving their response.

‘What about vulnerable adults and patients who may find it difficult to understand the question in the standard format’?

There was a lot of discussion around ‘inclusivity’.  How can you ensure that patients can be offered the question in a way that they will understand?   Practices need to be innovative in their ways of presenting this to these groups of patients, offering supplementary information and methods of collection.  Over one quarter of the guidance advises on ways of how best to do this.  For example, children could be offered the choice of smiley faces for them to select in relation to how they felt about their experience;  patients with learning difficulties could have the question presented differently so that they can answer with ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘don’t know’ etc.  Patients that are hard of hearing or have vision problems should also be included and it is up to you to ensure they are given the same opportunity as others.   All responses can then be mapped to the 6 standard responses and uploaded in the same way.  The full guidance on’ Making FFT inclusive’ can be found here and there are some excellent videos and suggestions for how you can implement this from page 66 onwards.  The guidance was developed with the input of expert groups such as charities, the voluntary sector and patients that are affected by conditions that may mean they have previously been excluded.  Definitely worth a read as ‘Making FFT Inclusive’ seems to be one of the more challenging aspects of FFT.

ERS Connect Managed Service can support you in all of the communication methods required to ensure that you comply.  Our Client Manager will work with you, offering solutions as to how you can ensure that all of your patients are given the ‘opportunity’ to respond and finally be heard.

“How will the data be submitted?”

NHS England is still currently developing a data submission system that will be available to GP practices in advance of the deadline for submission.   It is unlikely that the same method will be used as for Acute Trusts (UNIFY2) and there is the possibility that you upload to CQRS as for other submissions.

Practices will not be targeted on response rates as in the past, and you will only be required to submit the following:

  • The number of responses in each response category.
  • The number of responses made by each collection mode.

The ‘free text’ question is MANDATORY although NHS England does not require this information and it is not to be submitted.

It is also recommended that demographic data is collected (not mandatory) although again this does not need to be submitted.  This information however is invaluable when analysing results locally and can help you shape improvements to suit the needs of specific groups of patients.

ERS Connect will provide your reports in the correct format for submission.

“Do we have to do this and what are the consequences if we don’t?”

As this is a contractual requirement, please see page 21 of the guidance which details the following:

“Implementation of the FFT is about making the opportunity available for your patients to provide feedback on the services you provide. We have tried to make it as low a burden as possible for practices and for patients. NHS England will publish the results of every GP practice. Practices that do not implement the FFT will be seen to have not provided their patients with the opportunity to use the FFT to provide feedback. Ultimately, the FFT is a contractual requirement. We would expect commissioners of NHS services to require those they are commissioning services from to implement their contractual requirements.”

If you would like further information about our services or simply some advice on where to begin with implementation of the Friends and Family Test, please get in touch with our account management team.

Tel: 0333 240 4010

Email: mail@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk

We look forward to speaking to you and sharing our experiences with you.

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