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The NHS friends and family test

Would you recommend this service to friends and family?

The NHS friends and family test (FFT) is an important opportunity for you to provide feedback on the services that provide your care and treatment. Your feedback will help NHS England to improve services for everyone.

It was introduced in 2013 and asks patients whether they would recommend hospital wards, A&E departments and maternity services to their friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment. This means every patient in these wards and departments is able to give quick feedback on the quality of the care they receive, giving hospitals a better understanding of the needs of their patients and enabling improvements. 

The FFT became available in GP practices on December 1 2014 and then expanded to mental health services and community services on January 1 2015. Other services will offer the friends and family test from April 2015 such as NHS dental practices, ambulance services, patient transport services, acute hospitals outpatients and day cases. The aim is for FFT to become available to everyone using any NHS services.

For more information about the programme visit NHS England.

Test results on NHS Choices

Results for hospitals and maternity services are available on NHS Choices. Results for other services will be published on NHS Choices as they become available. To find out how a service performs, simply use the Services near you search. Add a postcode or town into the location search box and then select the provider of your choice. On the overview page you will find a box labelled "Quality of service". From here you will be able to access information on hospital and maternity services test scores.  

Additional friends and family test data is published by NHS England.

Hospitals may also publish their results in their annual reports and quality accounts.

How does it work?

When you are discharged from a service, or within the 48 hours that follow, you will be asked to answer the following question: "How likely are you to recommend our service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?"

You will be invited to respond to the question by choosing one of six options, ranging from "extremely likely" to "extremely unlikely".

You will also have the opportunity to explain why you have given your answer, so please answer any follow-up questions.

You may be asked to answer the question before going home, or you may be invited to do so by returning a postcard, by phone or on a website.

Women will be asked the question at four points during their maternity care:

  1. Antenatal care – to be surveyed at the 36 week antenatal appointment
  2. Birth
  3. Care on the postnatal ward – to be surveyed at discharge from the ward/birth unit/following a home birth
  4. Postnatal community care – to be surveyed at discharge from the care of the community midwifery team to the care of the health visitor/GP (usually at 10 days postnatal)

You can ask a member of staff for more information about how this information is used.

Do you have to respond to the question?

Your answer is voluntary. But if you do answer, your feedback will provide valuable information for your hospital to celebrate good practice, and identify opportunities to make improvements.

Your answer will not be traced back to you, and your details will not be passed on to anyone. A member of your family or a friend is welcome to answer the question if you are unable to.

If you feel that you should have been given the opportunity to respond but did not receive the question, please contact the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team or the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team at your hospital. Please also contact PPI or PALS if you would like more information on how the test will be carried out in your hospital.

How will the results be used?

Hospitals will gather the results and analyse them rapidly to see if any action is required. The responses to the FFT question will be used to create an overall score, which will be published on this website.

Does this replace the NHS complaints procedure or other forms of feedback?

No, this will not replace the current NHS complaints procedure or other forms of feedback. Hospitals and other service providers will continue to use their own ways of gathering feedback in addition to the NHS friends and family test.


The 10 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

dave0 said on 09 June 2015

Regarding he Friends and Family test: I have extreme doubts as to whether there is any benefit to this. Some hospital wards do not seem to know about it, our doctors surgery has a notice but no forms, and our dentist has nothing on display A friend of ours was taken ill recently at home and despite efforts by ambulance and paramedic staff died His widow received a letter this week asking if he wanted to recommend that particular service!!

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Moody06 said on 21 April 2015

Today I visited the Shakespeare walk in centre and after waiting Four and half hours I finally got seen by a doctor who was lovely. It's a pity that the reception staff weren't the same. I have never met such rude staff. The way they spoke to patients was disgusting. The facilities are rubbish considering the majority of people are wait g a long time.

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Ha5Rav said on 30 January 2015

The results are so complicated. The information needed to explain the questions and answers is complicated. The results are meaningless. A simple Yes or No is all that is needed to the question "Would you recommend this health care facility to your friends and family?"

Only NHS, and NHS in England, would create a massive project with 25 page booklets, a complicated league table of results with odd calculations to convert language to scores. The result is nobody believes the results or understands what they mean.

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User916641 said on 31 October 2014

To be fair I came to kings after a RTC with fractures torn liver and dislocated knee and they worked wonders while I was there they fixed me up and was then scheduled for a ACL reconstruction, but when I went for a pre op they messed up sent me home and didn't do what was supposed to be done and I ended up having to wait another month and half for the surgery, they also found a pancreas tumor and want to do surgery on that but upon appointments and visits the staff on receptions are rude and don't seem to know what is going on, plus leave you in the dark! As a working British guy who pays national insurance I think the NHS is going down the pan I'm still waiting to hear after two weeks of pre op for pancreas when I call I get answer machine or wrong department then no response! Made a complaint to PALS but never heard back.
I'm livid as work are writing me off because I know I'm due for surgery but can't give them notice as I don't have a clue what's going on and I'm kind of in limbo!
Gutted to say I used to be proud of the NHS and helped to raise money through charity's for them but thanks to the gov it's really dying!

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vnessS said on 28 October 2014

I think it is great that the NHS are asking for peoples opinions to recognise areas for improvement and of excellence.

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millieanne13 said on 22 September 2013

This initiative is supposed to be simple to understand but in the hands of the NHS, it takes a booklet of 25 pages to explain it.
It is supposed to be delivered quickly so that the ward or hospital or service can respond quickly. As a surgeon says, if the feedback is delivered a week after the monthly audit, it's a postmortem but if it's delivered immediately, it's a diagnostic tool. How often does the NHS ask for feedback but not act on it? How often does a simple and effective idea swell into an inoperable initiative because too many managers are involved? The information being gather is almost useless because too few people are being asked to comment, the questions have not been thought through (see comments above) and the information being put out is difficult to interpret. To many managers, not enough nurses! Too many managers, not enough nurses!!!!!

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dickyminto said on 20 August 2013

I completely agree with the above comments, I can see why the initial thought process happened, by only getting positive scores for extremely likely to recommend you would think would push people to make that extra special service. However, many people are ticking likely in a positive way, there comments are positive and are explaining that they chose likely because they were happy with the service. I don't think many patient would expect that ticking likely and not extremely likely actually becomes a negative. You could have ten very happy patients that tick likely because they think they have had great treatment, yet that will make your ward look like it provides terrible care. It would make more sense to combine likely and extremely likely against unlikely and extremely likely. or explain to the patients more in the questions how their score is calculated. I do not think it at all displays the great care many of us provide and actually brings moral down on the wards.

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Ericfisher said on 10 August 2013

1. Some review of the language used would be useful. For example, getting only "OK" when getting a net score of say 78 on extremely likely is not only de-motivating but also misleading when say 97% gave a positive reply. Is there a category "excellent"?
2. Can those answering "likely" to recommend the ward to family and friends be reflected in the overall score. Alternatively could the percentage of those unlikely or extremely unlikely to recommend the ward be highlighted. Otherwise, the results are unfairly depressed, especially given the subjectivism of the survey.
3. Can there be clearer explanation on the different categories i.e. when does "OK" become "poor" and when does it become "good"?

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User792675 said on 03 August 2013

I fully agree with the response above.it seems the smaller trusts with less responses are looking as if they are coming out on top.The FFT appears to penalise the larger trust especially those with AED depts. I would be interest to know how NHS Choices has arrived at the okay,poor and great colour coded scores ?

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NHSfan said on 31 July 2013

How can we be sure of the validity of the Friends and Family Test when about 10% were fewer than 20 respondents and 5% were fewer than 10. This skews the results and discriminates against those who had more respondents. Does this not suggest that those with few respondents might have problems?

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Page last reviewed: 01/12/2014

Next review due: 01/12/2016

FFT resources and guidance

NHS England has created a range of promotional materials, which you can download from its website. You can also email NHS England for queries about the FFT, simply email england.friendsandfamilytest@nhs.net.


Watch on YouTube

NHS Friends and Family Test

Would you recommend NHS services to other people based on the quality of the care you received? This animation shows how your feedback can help improve NHS services

Media last reviewed: 31/10/2014

Next review due: 31/10/2016

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