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Friends and Family Test (FFT)

The NHS Friends and Family Test (FFT) was created to help service providers and commissioners understand whether patients are happy with the service provided, or where improvements are needed. It's a quick and anonymous way to give your views after receiving NHS care or treatment.

Since the FFT was launched in 2013, millions of patients have submitted feedback. It's used by most NHS services, including community care, hospitals, mental health services, maternity services, GP and dental practices, emergency care, and patient transport.

FFT resources and guidance

You can email if you have any questions about the FFT.

You can also watch the following FFT animations on YouTube:

NHS England has more information about the Friends and Family Test, including guidance for NHS providers and commissioners. It also has a range of promotional materials, which you can download.

Looking up results on the NHS website

Some service providers have FFT scores on their profile pages.

To look at these:

  1. Search for services near you, select an NHS service and enter a postcode.
  2. Select the provider you want to look up. On the overview page of the provider's profile, there may be a section called "Quality of service" or "Key facts". Here you can see percentage scores, which show how many people would recommend the service.
  3. To find out about the data, select the link "Find out more about this data".

Additional FFT data is also published by NHS England every month.

NHS trusts may also publish their results on their websites and in their annual reports and Quality Accounts. Many GP and dental practices also give information on their own websites.

How the FFT works

After you've completed your treatment or you're discharged from a service, you may be invited to complete the FFT.

You may be asked while you're still on the premises, or you may be contacted later. Some providers may ask you to give your feedback by post, by text message, over the phone or using their website.

Not all service providers ask patients to complete the FFT, but you should be able to give feedback if you want to. For example, most GP and dental practices have feedback forms in their waiting rooms, which you can complete. Ask at reception if you cannot find a feedback form and you want to give feedback.

Filling out the FFT form

You'll be asked: "Overall, how was your experience of our service?"

You can rank your answer from "very good" to "very poor". You'll have the opportunity to explain your score by adding comments, and you may also be asked some follow-up questions. This is important because service providers can only make changes if they know exactly what is or is not working.

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

Following a recent review, from 1 April 2020 some changes have been made to the FFT. There have been several improvements to make it easier to use and more accessible for the public.

Find out more about the friends and family development project 2018 to 2019 on the NHS England website.

Do you have to respond to the question?

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

Around 9 out of 10 patients give positive feedback about NHS services when completing the FFT. This lets staff know that their efforts have been appreciated. Information about what could have been better is used to continuously improve services.

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

Service providers are encouraged to make the FFT accessible to all patients. This means they should be able to help patients that may need assistance, such as people with disabilities, literacy issues or mental health problems.

If you feel that you should have been given the opportunity to respond, but did not receive the question, speak to a member of staff first. If you wish to give feedback for a hospital service, contact the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team or the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team at your hospital.

Tip: An advocacy service may help you either to fill in the form or to request one, if you feel you've been denied one.

How will the results be used?

Service providers will collect the results and analyse them to see if any action is needed. The responses to the FFT question will be used to create an overall score that will be published on the NHS website. The anonymous comments from service users are retained by the service and passed on to staff and managers.

Service providers are also encouraged to inform patients about the comments and suggestions they've received, and include the actions they're planning to take in response.

This information could be provided in various forms such as updates on the service provider's website, at patient meetings, or by displaying the "You said – we did" posters in receptions and waiting areas.

The posters can be downloaded free of charge as part of the promotional resources available. See the project's Communications Resources page for details of where to find them.

Does the FFT 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 FFT.

Page last reviewed: 1 April 2020
Next review due: 1 April 2023