Would you recommend us to your family or friends? - Friends and Family test


See also video relating to the Friends and Family Test in Maternity Services

The NHS Friends and Family Test is a nationwide initiative to gain feedback from patients about the care and treatment they receive in hospital and in the community.

Patients are asked whether they would recommend NHS services to their friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment, which is believed to be an important indicator of the quality of care they have received.

The trust started using the Friends and Family Test in April 2013 in A&E and have since rolled out to all areas including Inpatients, Outpatients, Emergency departments, Community and Maternity services. Every patient that receives treatment in those areas is now be able to give feedback about the quality of care they have received.

The vast majority of patients we have surveyed to date, in all areas of the Trust, would recommend the care given to a friend or family member.

We are very pleased that the majority of our patients have had a good experience of our Trust. However we also want to know where we have not met expectations so that we can make improvements. Your feedback is our best way of knowing where we are doing well or where we could do better. Feedback from the Friends and Family Test can be used to form action plans and help staff improve the overall patient experience.

The latest results for each of our wards and the emergency department can be found on the NHS Choices website . The results are updated every month. Simply click on one of our hospitals to find the results.

How does the Friends and Family test work?

When a patient is discharged, they 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?'

The patient is then invited to respond to the question by choosing one of six options, ranging from 'extremely likely' to 'extremely unlikely'.

It is important we give patients the opportunity to explain the answer given using the follow-up question:

'Please can you tell us the main reason for the answer you have chosen?'

It is important we receive the comments from patients as these give us an insight into the care and experience provided by our Trust. 

Survey Methods

As our Trust is extremely vast, we have had to adapt flexible methods to conduct the Friends and Family Test which is suited to the area and patients. There are 2 main methods which the survey is conducted, feedback cards and text message/interactive voice message.  

Feedback cards - These are used predominantly in Inpatient areas and Maternity services, but are also used in some Outpatient and Community Services. These cards should be given out once the patient is discharged or following an appointment. Each area has their own method of collection but most areas have postboxes for patients to post the completed cards. These are then collected each week and sent off to our approved surveys contractor to upload the data.

Text Messages and Interactive Voice Message - Most of the Outpatients and Community Services use texts and interactive voice messages to survey patients. Responses to these are free of charge and anonymous.

Do you have to respond to the question?

The responses are voluntary and anonymous. Answers will not be traced back to patients. A member of a patients family or friend can answer the question if a patient is unable to.

Patients can opt out of this survey at any time. Simply reply STOP if the text is received or hang up the phone on the interactive voice message. Following this if the patient does not wish to take part at all with the Friends and Family Test they need to inform a member of staff who will ensure you are not contacted.

If a patient feels they should have been given the opportunity to respond but did not receive the survey, please contact Patient Services Team on 0114 271 2400 or via email at sth.pals@nhs.net

How will the results be used?

We will gather the results and analyse them to see where we can make improvements or explore suggestions further. All comments are made available to staff unless marked private. Patient feedback is combined to create an overall score for each area, this score is published on the NHS Choices website monthly. Nurse Directors, Deputy Nurse Directors, Matrons and Ward Managers receive a full report monthly of the feedback and scores so that they can discuss this with their teams and take any appropriate action.

Does the Friends and Family Test replace the NHS complaints procedure?

No, this will not replace our current complaints procedure or other forms of feedback. To make a complaint or give a compliment, please contact our Patient Services Team on 0114 271 2400 or via email at sth.pals@nhs.net

As well as the Friends and Family Test we will continue to actively seek patient and visitors feedback and views through our website, spot surveys, patient groups and informal discussions with patients and their families.

You can also let us know what you think by using the electronic form below. Please choose from one of the options from the drop box below.

Please choose from the list so we can deal with your enquiry in the best way.


Additional Information

New technology helps patients air their views 

Patients at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will now be able to give immediate feedback about the care they receive at a touch of a button.

The Trust has trained a team of 50 volunteers to use hand-held digital devices - much like PDAs - to collect the thoughts of patients about their care.

This information is then analysed and reported back, providing patient feedback at both ward and Hospital Trust level.

Volunteers have been chosen as they are independent of the patient's care and treatment, which has been found to be the best way of receiving open and honest feedback.

Sue Butler, Head of Patient Partnership at the Trust, said: "Anything which helps us fully understand the experiences our patients have when we care for them is great.

"The new devices will help us keep more frequent and up-to-date information from patients and their families, as part of our strategy for engaging people in how we make continuous improvements.

"It is the flexibility of this service that really excites us, because we can tailor the questions to examine a particular point in time and see how well new schemes are doing."

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