NHS Friends & Family Test

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NHS Friends & Family Test

What is the Friends and Family Test?

The Friends and Family Test is a feedback tool that offers patients the chance to give feedback on the treatment and care they’ve received, in their own words.

How does the Friends and Family Test affect me?

Since 2015 it has been compulsory for the following NHS funded services to conduct the Friends and Family Test: General and acute, Mental health, Community, NHS primary medical services, NHS primary dental services and Ambulance.

After a 12 month suspension, the requirement to submit Friends and Family Test (FFT) data was reintroduced into the GP Contract from 1st April 2022, with a requirement for practices to start submitting data from Q2 22/23.

With the resumption of the Friends and Family Test new guidance has been provided, including the following key changes to the policy:

  • a new (and more appropriate) mandatory question (see below for more information)
  • practices having an improved ability to design how and when they hear from patients
  • less focus on numerical data
  • an increased local focus on the free text comments provided by patients
  • efforts to make the FFT more about listening and less about data collection

SmartSurvey’s online survey software is here to help.

The new FFT question

Following changes introduced in 2022, the FFT is now comprised of a single mandatory default question followed by one or more open free-text questions. The changes are designed to better elicit quality feedback.

A pair of free-text questions are recommended but these are not mandatory; providers can choose which free-text questions to ask, based on exactly what they want to know about. Providers can include additional tick box questions, such as demographic questions, and/or to ask whether the feedback given is from a carer, parent, or guardian etc.

1. New standard question

There is a new standard question for all settings. This new question also uses a new response scale:

Overall, how was your experience of our service?

  • Very good
  • Good
  • Neither good nor poor
  • Poor
  • Very poor
  • Don’t know

2. New preceding text

New preceding text has been added to make it clear which setting the feedback refers to. Following on from the words: “Thinking about”, providers should choose the most appropriate option (or use their own, similar wording). the aim is to ensure that feedback is clearly relatable to the right service. The examples provided are:

Thinking about

your GP practice…

your stay in the hospital…

your dental practice…

your recent visit to A&E…

this maternity service…

our antenatal service…

our labour ward…

our birthing unit…

our homebirth service…

our postnatal ward…

our postnatal community service…

your recent appointment…

your recent visit…

our recent visit…

the service we provide…

3. Additional questions

Providers can include additional tick box questions, including:

  • asking demographic questions
  • asking whether the feedback is from a carer/parent/guardian etc.

SmartSurvey and the Friends and Family Test

Healthcare providers are free to use a collection method that suits their patients and the resources available to them. However, there are issues such as cost, technical capability, the ability for free text submission and anonymity to be considered. Fortunately, our user-friendly online healthcare survey software provides an efficient and effective Friends and Family Test implementation solution.

  • Surveys are quick and easy set up
  • Pre-built NHS Friends and Family Test template
  • Patients can access the Friends and Family Test from a touch point that suits them: a) online survey once patient is home; b) electronic tablet / kiosk at point of discharge; c) SMS / text / smartphone app
  • SmartSurvey is a G-Cloud supplier and can be found here
  • All FFT responses are automatically collected in a central location
  • No manual input of data is required
  • Cost effective and scalable pricing plans
  • Not-for-profit discounts available
  • Multi-user management capabilities
  • Patient anonymity options
  • Free text submission boxes available
  • Flexible data export options
  • A friendly Support Team on call

Tried, tested and trusted NHS supplier

As a G-Cloud supplier, SmartSurvey meets all the requirements necessary of a public sector and government digital service supplier. We are registered under the Data Protection Act and all data collected is stored on UK-based servers, so your patients’ data will never leave the E.U. We currently work with a large number of healthcare providers across the United Kingdom. Check out our NHS Derbyshire Trust case study.

For more information you can book a personalised online demonstration by contacting us today.

Useful resources from NHS England: Friends and Family Test FAQ, Guidance on Implementing the Friends and Family Test.

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