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03-01-2013 | General practice | Article

GPs face ‘friends and family’ test


10 Downing Street News Release

medwireNews: GPs are set to undergo the NHS "friends and family" test being rolled out by the Government from April 2013.

The test was first trailed as a hospital feedback measure last year and involves asking patients whether they would recommend the service to a friend or relative.

Prime Minister David Cameron has now said he wants the scheme to go further and include GP surgeries, district nursing and community hospitals.

According to Health Service Journal, the test is based on customer satisfaction surveys used by corporations including Apple and Virgin, in which consumers are asked if they would recommend the product on a scale of 0-10.

People giving a rating on 9 or 10 ('extremely likely') are considered loyal and will recommend the service to others, while those scoring 7 or 8 are considered passive, meaning they are largely satisfied but not immune to competitors' offers, while those scoring any lower are detractors likely to "bad mouth" the service.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Most of our NHS does a brilliant job looking after patients - but it is still true that in many places quality of care is not valued as highly as quality of treatment. The new... test will shine a light on standards of care throughout the system and help expose the shocking examples of poor care that have been coming to light earlier."

However, BMA GPC Deputy Chair Dr Richard Vautrey expressed reservations about the scheme. "The reality is most patients use word of mouth [to choose a GP] so I think these kinds of measurements do not actually chime with what patients do in their local communities," he told HSJ.

medwireNews is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Caroline Price, Senior medwireNews Reporter