Introduction to the Friends and Family Test

The Friends and Family Test (FFT) aims to provide a simple headline metric which, when combined with follow-up questions, is a tool to ensure transparency, celebrate success and galvanise improved patient experience.

The implementation of the FFT across all NHS services is an integral part of Putting Patients First, NHS England’s Business Plan for 2013/14 – 2015/16, and is designed to help service users, commissioners and practitioners.

Since April 2013, the FFT question has been asked in all NHS Inpatient and A&E departments across England and, from October 2013, all providers of NHS funded maternity services have also been asking women the same question at different points throughout their care :

“How likely are you to recommend our [ward/A&E department/maternity service] to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?” with answers on a scale of extremely likely to extremely unlikely.

Hospitals are encouraged to follow up patients’ responses with further questions about why they answered in the way they did, making sure that every patient – including every pregnant woman using NHS maternity services – has the opportunity to be heard and acting as a lever by which NHS services can be transformed to better understand and meet local people’s needs.

The results are published at monthly intervals on both NHS England and NHS Choices websites.

The NHS Friends and Family Test has already galvanised well over a million responses – giving patients a say in their healthcare, providing local hospitals with vital feedback and playing an active role in transforming the services the NHS provides now and in the future.

From ward to board, staff and managers will be able to look at the results of the Friends and Family Test and take appropriate action. It acts as a catalyst for hospitals and Trusts to examine how their services are experienced by patients and how they can make improvements

NHS England is committed to introducing the Friends and Family Test to General Practice and community and mental health services by the end of December 2014, and to the rest of NHS funded services by the end of March 2015.  The FFT is already the biggest ever collection of patient views.

From 1 April 2014, all NHS trusts providing acute, community, ambulance and mental health services in England are required to implement the FFT for staff. Guidance to support organisations administering the Staff FFT is published on the Staff Friends and Family Test page.

Further information/supporting publications

Useful information for staff

Useful information for patients and the public

Case studies and good practice

News Stories