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Are you making your voice heard about NHS services?

Do you know that, any time you use NHS healthcare, you can give fast, anonymous feedback that could help improve services?

The Friends and Family Test (FFT) asks a simple question to find out whether, based on your experience, you rate the service highly enough to say you would recommend it to the people you care about, which is seen as the acid test for most people of whether something is good enough.

Most NHS-funded services now offer you the opportunity to rate your experience and that includes space to give any comments to explain your score or to make suggestions about how things could be made better.

As part of a national public-awareness raising week, the FFT is in the spotlight with a series of local events and other initiatives to let people know how they can have their say on the NHS other than through formal patient surveys or making a complaint.

Giltbrook surgery in Eastwood has demonstrated a commitment to the FFT and developed innovative ways to ensure they receive as much feedback as possible, and welcome every response they get, whether positive or negative. All the staff are actively engaged in encouraging patients to share their views, and every person who visits the surgery is asked to give feedback.

Practice Manager, Julie Wright, drives and manages the process. She reads every card and examines the responses on a regular basis to identify where improvements can be made.

She says: “While it’s always nice to have positive comments, as a practice we embrace every response, both positive and negative, from our patients. Negative responses can help us identify areas for improvement and give us chance to make positive changes, which in turn helps us build trust with our patients.”

Following the ‘You said, we did’ model, there is a folder in the waiting room which highlights all the comments made by patients that required action. The practice then details what action they have taken to address the issues. This approach ensures that the patients know that they are listened to.

For example, the FFT results highlighted that patients felt that the GP regularly over runs on appointment times.

So in response to this,  the practice manager spoke to patients and practice staff about the best way to tackle this issue. The solution was that patients are encouraged to book multiple appointments if they require more time with the GP than the usual 10 minute slot.

If you want to find out more, ask a member of staff next time you get care or treatment from the NHS. You can also see more information about the FFT

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