High dental satisfaction, NHS test shows

DENTAL practices received 97 per cent positive ratings from patients, according to their first batch of Friends and Family Test (FFT) results.

The official NHS survey was rolled out to dentists in April.

Data just published from the first three months shows the overwhelming majority of patients who responded said they would recommend their dental service to a friend or family member. Only one per cent of respondents said they would not recommend it.

The figures come as the FFT marks its 10 millionth piece of patient feedback.

It was launched in April 2013 and has since been fully rolled out across the NHS. The test aims to gauge patient views on service quality, allowing providers to react quickly to any reported problems.

In the first month for dental practices, feedback was submitted by almost 191,000 patients. In May there were 151,000 submissions and almost 143,500 in June. Data was returned by just over 6,000 practices in April, falling to just over 5,300 in June.

The latest FFT report also included examples of improvements made to various healthcare services in response to patient comments.

One GP practice in Essex received comments from a number of patients who had difficulty in making appointments and in seeing the practice nurse. They addressed the issue by recruiting a new nurse and extending opening hours to include weekends.

And patients at a hospital in London commented numerous times on noise levels at night, prompting the team to introduce measures to make the area quieter.

Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, said: “The Friends and Family Test has become a key tool for providing healthcare providers and commissioners with real-time feedback that helps them hear their patients’ views and react quickly.”

He added: “Given the overwhelmingly positive scores that have been recorded, it is a huge vote of confidence and appreciation for the hardworking staff of the NHS across England.”

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