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First results from NHS Friends and Family test published


New data from the NHS Friends and Family survey, which asks patients whether they would recommend A&E and inpatient wards to their nearest and dearest based on their own experience, has been released.

The survey, which will grow into the most comprehensive ever undertaken, covers around 4,500 NHS wards and 144 A&E services. It allows hospital trusts to gain real time feedback on their services down to individual ward level and increases the transparency of NHS data to drive up choice and quality.

The Test was first announced by the Prime Minister in January 2012 and means that patients will now have a real voice in deciding whether their care is good enough or not – and hospitals will be able to take swift action to make any necessary improvements.

The Friends and Family Test was introduced in April this year and this release of information covers the first three months of the survey. There are wide variations in numbers of respondents which affect overall scores but highlights include:

  • Over the first three months, over 400,000 NHS patients completed the survey
  • Specialist hospitals tended to have higher scores for inpatient services
  • The Friends and Family Test scores are available at Trust, hospital, specialty and ward level
  • In June 36 wards out of 4,500 across the country scored an overall negative figure, down from 66 in April
  • For A&E in June, just one service received a negative score
  • Inpatient data was submitted by all 157 Acute NHS trusts as well as Independent sector providers, and A&E data by all 144 providers of relevant A&E services
  • A&E service scores ranged from 100 to minus 13, with the top ten Trusts landing between 100 and 79. (FFT scoring ranges between +100 and -100)
  • The scores for inpatients ranged from 100 to 43
  • There has been a steady increase in the numbers of respondents each month, increasing from 108,000 in April to 160,000 in June, with a total of 404,657 responses gathered for the quarter April to June 2013
  • The Care Quality Commission will also use the data as part of its new surveillance system when assessing risks at hospitals, together with other data such as mortality rates and never events
  • The England-wide response rate for both inpatient and A&E surveys was 13.1 per cent
  • Public and patients can find easily searchable data for the Friends and Family Test for June 2013 from 0930 today on the NHS Choices website:

The Friends and Family Test is based on one simple question, ‘How likely are you to recommend our ward/A&E department to your friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?' Patients are presented with six responses ranging from ‘extremely likely' through to ‘extremely unlikely'.

Organisations are encouraged to ask follow-up questions at the same time to find out more details that can help drive improvements. The number and wording of the follow-up questions is determined locally but tend be similar to "Please can you tell us the main reason for the score you have given?”

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