The Friends and Family Test (FFT) is an important feedback tool that supports the fundamental principle that people who use NHS services should have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience. Listening to the views of patients and staff helps identify what is working well, what can be improved and how.
The FFT asks people if they would recommend the services they have used and offers a range of responses. From April 2020, a new question has replaced the original FFT question about whether people would recommend the service they used to their friends and family. There will be delays in some services being able to implement the new guidance in full due to the impact of the coronavirus on services.
The replacement question invites feedback on the overall experience of using the service. When combined with supplementary follow-up questions, the FFT provides a mechanism to highlight both good and poor patient experience. This kind of feedback is vital in transforming NHS services and supporting patient choice.
After being launched in April 2013, the FFT was rolled out in phases to most NHS-funded services in England over a two-year period, and now gives all patients, users of services, their carers and loved ones the opportunity to leave feedback on their care and treatment.
During 2018/19, we carried out a development project to improve the FFT and make it a more useful tool for driving service improvement. This resulted in a number of revisions to the way it works, set out in revised guidance for services, and these changes are effective from 1 April 2020, though implementation in many services will be delayed due to pressures from the coronavirus response across the NHS,
By the end of 2019, the FFT had resulted in more than 75 million pieces of feedback – and the total rises by around 1.3 million more every month – making it the biggest source of patient opinion in the world. Scores so far have told us that at least nine out of ten patients respond positively on their experience. Patient comments also identify areas where improvements can be made so that providers can make care and treatment better for everyone.
See our section on Implementing FFT Guidance for details of how the FFT works now.
The feedback gathered through the FFT is being used in NHS organisations across the country to stimulate local improvement and empower staff to carry out the sorts of changes that make a real difference to patients and their care. You can see examples of this in our FFT case studies.
While the results are not statistically comparable against other organisations because of the various data collection methods, FFT provides a broad measure of patient experience that can be used alongside other data to inform service improvement and patient choice.
Monthly results of the Friends and Family Test
The results of the FFT are published monthly.
The Friends and Family Test for staff
Since April 2014, all NHS trusts providing acute, community, ambulance and mental health services in England have also been 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
Other useful information
Useful information for patients and the public
The non-profit Patient Experience Network (PEN) has announced winners for its national healthcare awards to recognize outstanding initiatives and national good practice across the NHS. The ceremony in Birmingham on 1 March included the Using Insight for Improvement category, which is specifically supported by NHS England to identify fantastic examples of work across the NHS […]
Winners selected for patient insight awards, announced today at a Patient Experience Network ceremony in Birmingham, demonstrate that NHS providers and commissioners are listening to patient feedback and that services are continuing to improve because of it. The awards in the Friends and Family Test and Patient Insight for Improvement categories have gone to five […]
The non-profit Patient Experience Network has announced the shortlist for the second Friends and Family Test Awards, recognising work across the NHS to use patient and staff feedback and insight to drive improvements in services. The first awards were presented in March. The category winners and an overall winner for the current round of awards will be […]
From maternity wards to GP practices, from emergency departments to dental practices, the results of the national Friends and Family Test Awards, announced today, demonstrate that NHS providers are listening to patient feedback and that services are continuing to improve because of it. More than 100 entries were shortlisted in the finals of the awards, […]
Many hospital radio stations around the country are taking part in a national promotion to raise awareness of the importance of patient feedback to improve NHS services. As part of this week’s mini-campaign to put the spotlight on the Friends and Family Test, NHS England has produced a range of audio packages that volunteers on […]
A campaign launched today aims to raise awareness of how patient feedback is helping drive continuous improvement in NHS services. The Friends and Family Test (FFT) Spotlight Week will include a range of promotional activities across England over the next five days aimed at giving fresh impetus to FFT which has already gathered 17million pieces […]
The spotlight will be turned on the Friends and Family Test next week (14 to 18 March) in an initiative aimed at boosting the number of people giving feedback on their NHS care and treatment. There will be a five-day mini-campaign across England with a range of promotional activities in the community – such as […]
There is now an extra week to submit your entries for the Friends and Family Test Awards 2016. NHS England has extended the deadline from 8 January to Friday 15 January 2016 after requests from some providers who were prevented from preparing their entries due to the festive holidays. Full details about the Awards – […]
To celebrate the positive changes to healthcare that are being produced through patient feedback, we want to find and recognise the services and people in the NHS who are making a real difference by organising the Friends and Family Test Awards 2016. The Friends and Family Test is now operating across most of the NHS […]
Improvements are being made to the part of the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) system that GP practices use to submit their monthly Friends and Family Test data. Practices had fed back over the past few months that they wanted to be able to go back into the system before the submission deadline to amend […]