NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group is piloting a Friends and Family Test feedback text messaging system.

The CCG claims it is the first commissioning group in the country to use texts to encourage greater response rates from patients.

The system, from tech start-up DrDoctor, sends a text message to patients one hour after they leave the GP practice, asking how likely they are to recommend their care.

Diane Hampshire, executive director of nursing, quality and communications at the CCG, said that it is important to know which services are good and where there is room for improvement.

“When patients, their families and friends tell us what it’s like to be a patient, we learn much more than what the treatment was like or if it was successful,” she said.

“Listening to what patients tell us is very important so that we can capture their views to help us work with our members to share good practice and to continually improve the quality of primary care services.”

The Friends and Family Test was introduced to hospitals in 2013 and CCGs are due to roll it out to primary care by the end of this calendar year.

The DrDoctor text-messaging system also gives commissioners an online dashboard where they can view results and response rates from the FFT.

The system has been in use at Heatherwood and Wexam Park Hospitals NHS Trust since last year. The trust also uses the system for text-based appointment booking where patients can respond to appointment reminders and amend appointments via text.

Perran Pengelly, one of the founders of DrDoctor, said the aim of the system is to use text messaging to make it easier to talk to patients.

“The system is a big step forward from one way messaging – it’s a proper conversation with the patient,” he said.