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Friends and Family Test for general practice

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The Friends and Family Test (FFT) has been rolled out to cover general practice and community services.

NHS England has also released new guidance to help practices implement the FFT to ensure that all patients are able to use it.

It will be a contractual requirement for all general practices to apply to the scheme by 1 December 2014. Mental health and community services have until 1 January 2015. Practices will be able to use the feedback they receive to improve services in line with patient expectations.

Tim Kelsey, NHS England's national director for patients and nformation, said: ‘The key aim in setting up the Friends and Family Test was for the results to be transparently published and available to inform patient decisions and choice.

'By April 2015, we will have introduced the FFT to millions of patients across thousands of providers of NHS funded services including GP and dental practices, ambulance, mental health and community services, as well as outpatients.

'This reinforces our commitment to transparency, driving up standards and listening to the voice of patients from all backgrounds and communities in our society.'

The guidance can be found at: http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fft-gp-imp-guid-14.pdf

The FFT, first introduced for secondary care in April 2013, is an anonymous feedback tool for health services. The NHS reports that over three million individual pieces of feedback have been collected on patients' experiences of inpatient, A&E and maternity services. Seventy-eight per cent of trusts said the FFT had increased the emphasis on patient experience in their trust.

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