Do you know that, any time you use NHS healthcare, you can give fast, anonymous feedback that could help improve services?
The Friends and Family Test (FFT) asks a simple question to find out whether, based on your experience, you rate the service highly enough to say you would recommend it to the people you care about, which is seen as the acid test for most people of whether something is good enough.
Most NHS-funded services now offer you the opportunity to rate your experience and that includes space to give any comments to explain your score or to make suggestions about how things could be made better.
As part of a national public-awareness raising week, the FFT is in the spotlight with a series of local events and other initiatives to let people know how they can have their say on the NHS other than through formal patient surveys or making a complaint.
Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has been supporting the initiative, and has recently been announced as a finalist in Friends and Family Test Awards 2016, in recognition of the way patient and staff feedback is being used to improve healthcare services.
Since launching use of the FFT with patients in November 2014, the Trust has recorded over 8500 of pieces of patient feedback. Figures are submitted to NHS England every month and, nationally, almost 17 million pieces of patient feedback have been given in the past three years.
One of the benefits is that NHS staff, and the people who plan local healthcare, get confirmation that they are mostly doing a great job: in general, more than 9 out of 10 people give a positive response and that is really good for morale. In Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, the latest scores were 92% positive.
What about the things that could be better? Patient comments provide a rich source of ideas and help to explain what is not going well as well as the things that people are happy with. The fact the information comes through soon after the patient’s contact with the NHS means faster action can be taken to address any issues.
It might be something as simple as poor signage, difficulty getting through on the telephone, cleanliness of the facilities or politeness of staff. It could be a big idea for driving up quality, saving money or making it easier for people of all ages, languages and physical conditions to get involved.
Around the country, the NHS is listening to patients and there are thousands of examples of action being taken in response to patients’ views.
Often the ‘small things’ make the biggest difference and the Trust ensures the ‘small things’ are being paid attention to, for example providing decaffeinated coffee on wards and playing music in areas when people are waiting to see the Community Mental Health Team. These are just a few initiatives the Trust has made to improve patient experience.
Sallie Turner, Project Support Officer said: “Patient feedback is pivotal to good service delivery – and the team work extremely hard to monitor all feedback from the FFT to make sure that it is responded to in the correct manner. The information collected is so important, as it ensures the service and experience patients receive it the best experience it can be.”
If you want to find out more, ask a member of staff next time you get care or treatment from the NHS. You can also see more information about the FFT at www.nhs.uk/friendsandfamily