The Friends and Family Test has been included in the government’s mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board. Making sure that people have a positive experience of care is a key requirement in the Mandate, published on 13 November 2012.
It means every patient will be able to give feedback on the quality of their care:
- acute hospital inpatients and accident and emergency patients from April 2013
- for women who use maternity services from October 2013
- as soon as possible after October, for all those using NHS services.
The test will collect timely feedback which can be used to improve patient care and identify the best performing hospitals. Details of the initial roll out were announced by the Prime Minister in May 2012 in response to recommendations by the Nursing Care Quality Forum.
The test will involve the use of a simple question, which all patients in the target groups will be given the opportunity to answer, every day of the year.
For A&E departments, the question will be: “How likely are you to recommend our A&E department to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?”.
The question for inpatient services asks: “How likely are you to recommend our ward to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?”.
The expectation will be that the test will be used to improve the quality of care where patient feedback indicates that experience is poor. It is important that NHS services are patient centred and responsive and the Friends and Family test should be one of the tools used to deliver this aim.