Scores of GP practices risk contract breach over friends and family tests

Scores of GP practices are at risk of receiving contract breach notices because they have failed to submit data on responses to friends and family tests (FFT).

Since April 2015, GP practices have been required to collect FFT responses from patients and submit data to NHS England monthly.

NHS England said that numbers of practices submitting data had risen for the past two months. But 118 practices have 'made no attempt at all to meet their contractual requirements since the implementation of the programme', a spokesman said.

GP leaders in London have warned practices that FFT participation is not optional. Guidance on the Londonwide LMCs website says: 'Please remember that if you do not submit FFT data monthly for three consecutive months you will be in breach of your contract and risk having a breach notice issued to you.

GP friends and family tests

'Please note the FFT is not a one-off exercise. It is an ongoing commitment that is written into your practice contract. Monthly submissions of the data you collect from FFT must be submitted on the 12th working day in the month after the data is collected.'

NHS England has been unable to confirm how many practices have been issued with breach notices over failure to fulfil FFT duties.

A spokesman said: 'While our emphasis is on supporting practices, we have already provided advice to GP service commissioners on the NHS England website, which says that, taking into account the local situation or any mitigating circumstances, they should consider a breach notice for practices that fail to submit data for three months.'

Londonwide LMCs says that if practices are struggling to generate responses to the FFT, they should consider ways of widening participation, such as inviting patients to take part by text or online. Practices are warned that even if they receive no responses they must submit a return via the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) system.

Visit Medeconomics for resources to help practices implement the FFT

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