Making the FFT fabulous! A dedicated FFT team tell us how they embedded patient feedback into the culture of their entire organisation

What did they do?

The FFT internal process was viewed by staff as unpopular, clunky, time consuming and unreliable, unnecessarily adding to staff workload. Feedback was not always seen as being accurate and was not always trusted.

We thought we could do better. We thought that collecting and acting on feedback was important to show patients that we care. We also knew it was important to show staff we cared about their FFT concerns. Our aim was therefore to work with teams to make their FFT lives easier and to support them to realise the potential of FFT by increasing their engagement with the process.

The initiative was planned and delivered by a dedicated FFT team, consisting of a senior and assistant officer and data analyst, together with patient experience leads. Key activities included:

  • Encouraging wards to participate in a patient experience competition, with teams invited to share their feedback. One of the entries can be viewed here.
  • The introduction of branding with colourful characters and stationery. The main character was given the name ‘Fred’ and is now affectionately known across the trust to add a fun element to the FFT. This branding ensures patients and staff immediately recognise the FFT.
  • Developing a strong social media presence and using #FFTFriday to celebrate and share feedback on Twitter
  • Introducing FFT certificates for impressive response and recommendation rates
  • Encouraging wards to define a ‘FFT Champions’ job role where staff volunteer themselves or have been nominated to oversee FFT in their department
  • FFT team visits to clinical areas to provide bespoke training sessions for staff
  • Using FFT branding to encourage children to leave feedback, including designing stickers
  • Making the FFT work better for staff by providing analysis of comments linked to specific clinical areas
  • Designing FFT posters and business cards containing a Quick Response code for providing feedback via mobile phones or navigating to the trust website to provide it there
  • Developing an ‘Early Warning System’ which alerts teams to drops in recommended rates, providing an opportunity to address comments and themes quickly

This initiative was a great success, leading to a significant impact on staff engagement with the FFT and an increase in recommended rates and decrease in percentage not recommended rates.

What did they learn?

The FFT was previously viewed by colleagues across the trust as a tick box exercise. The challenge was therefore to achieve staff engagement so that they would appreciate the value of the FFT. This was not an easy thing to do, a struggle many trusts recognise. This initiative is special because the team managed to achieve this. They list the following key elements as critical to their success:

  • A dedicated team with time to focus on this area and offer support
  • Listening to what staff said about the FFT process and making it better
  • Support from senior trust staff – this is vital to support FFT success and the FFT champions in their roles
  • Holding events that celebrate how wards have used feedback, or sharing improvements or changes through Twitter – teams are incentivised to do more when their success is shared
  • A fun brand to promote FFT
  • IT infrastructure to underpin FFT processes and make staff lives easier

We’ve learnt that although it takes time to achieve, engaging staff in really ‘feeling’ the importance of feedback makes all the difference in them investing their future efforts in this activity. Taking part in this competition has really made us think about patient feedback and communication. Previously, we had no process of feeding back to patients and staff were encouraged to read the monthly FFT sheets. We now have a whole wall dedicated to encouraging patient feedback and feeding back comments to them with changes we have implemented from comments and suggestions.

This initiative recently took the top prize in two categories: ‘Using insight to improve integrated care’ and ‘Staff engagement’ at the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA) held in March 2019. Next steps for the team include shining a spotlight on stories relating to how feedback has improved patient care, to keep engagement alive.