From 1 December 2014 all practices in England are contractually required to undertake the Friends and Family Test.
NHS England says practices must:
- Provide an opportunity for people who use the practice to give anonymous feedback through Friends and Family test except where it would be inappropriate to do so.
- Use the standard wording of the Friends and Family test question.
- Include at least one follow-up question, which allows the opportunity to provide free text.
- Submit data in the format required to NHS England each month (through CQRS - guidance on this is to follow soon).
- Publish results locally.
There are a number of resources that practices can make use of to implement the Friends and Family Test.
NHS England materials
NHS England has produced a range of NHS-branded communication materials for practices.
This includes a one-and-a-half minute animated film which can be viewed with or without sound.
Practices can download the YouTube embed code if they want to put the film on their website, as above.
You can also download the HD verison of the film if you want to show it on a screen in the practice.
NHS England has also produced the following printed materials:
- A customisable A3 poster to let patients know how they can take part in the test.
- Two A3 posters practices can use to inform patients of any actions they have taken as a result of feedback they received through the test. One with an image and one without.
- A promotional flyer, which can double up as an appointment card if you print it on both sides
- An advert that can be used in a newsletter or website in colour and black and white
- A label to attach to any feedback box
Making the Friends and Family Test inclusive
NHS England has also produced resources to help practices make the Friends and Family Test inclusive. These include:
- An easy read format of the test for patients with learning difficulties, along with a guide for staff supporting patients with learning disabilities to complete the test.
- A video translating the Friends and Family Test into British Sign Language.
- A large print Friends and Family Test form for patients who are visually impaired.
- Translations of the question for people who speak little or no English.
For children and parent/carers
Website Monkey Wellbeing, which aims to make children's experiences of the NHS and school less intimidating, has produced a version of the Friends and Family Test that can be used with younger patients, and a companion form for their parents or carers.
Results from pilot sites
The results from the general practice sites that piloted the Friends and Family Test also have some useful tips for practices.
The pilot in Bath and North East Somerset found that the most important factor in the success of the Friends and Family Test was ensuring staff were actively engaged and encouraged patients to complete the test. Practices who were committed to the test had higher response rates than in those surgeries where staff engagement and commitment were poor.
The pilot found the following worked well to engage staff in the process:
- Regular qualitative feedback to practice staff to boost morale and give a sense of job satisfaction.
- Turning off electronic check-in facilities in the waiting area so that patients have a face-to-face encounter with a receptionist who reminds them to complete the survey before they leave.
- Engaging reception staff and encouraging them to facilitate the patient uptake: the practice with the highest uptake rates approached it as a whole team.
- Putting in place small incentives for practice staff to encourage patient uptake, such as agift voucher.
- Making sure negative comments formed part of the appraisal process or performance management, if needed.
The pilot also found that positioning a pedestal kiosk adjacent to the reception desk and very near to the exit worked well. The kiosk needs to be visible and accessible but sheltered enough for patients to feel confident that they can complete the test without being overlooked.
A number of third party suppliers provide software and/or other resources to help practices implement the Friends and Family Test.
The RCGP has put together a list of these suppliers, with details of their offerings and contact information, which you can find here.