Friends and Family Test in NHS dental services

We are committed to giving patients the opportunity to let us know what they think about the services they use, and using that feedback to improve services. The majority of NHS dentists have successfully implemented the Friends and Family Test (FFT) and started submitting monthly data to NHS England.

The fundamental principle of FFT is that all patients should be able to use the standard FFT question to give feedback to providers of their NHS funded care or treatment. The FFT has now been implemented across the NHS.

In developing the FFT, we worked with a range of stakeholders, including dentists, to make sure that the burden was kept as low as possible. As a consequence, the FFT has been designed to be flexible and efficient with very few requirements, other than to make FFT available to patients and submit monthly response numbers to NHS England.

Since it was first introduced in 2013 over 10 million responses have been collected, making the FFT the biggest feedback mechanism the NHS has ever seen. In the first three months since implementation by dentists, over 350,000 responses have been collected and more than three quarters of dentists have successfully submitted data each month.

The vast majority of responses are very positive. In the first three months of data from dentists, over 97% of responses said they would be likely or extremely likely to recommend their dentist.

As well as highlighting good experiences, the FFT can identify opportunities to make improvements. We are hearing growing numbers of examples of FFT feedback being used to inform real improvements in services for patients.