The Friends and Family test (FFT) is a more recent development for NHS services than the Inpatient Survey, and is based on a simpler concept than a scientific survey: asking patients whether they would recommend a service to family or friends. The simplicity of the FFT makes it easy to summarise and communicate, but this comparative simplicity belies difficulties in interpretation. For example, respondents’ age affects the rating given, as does the timing of the test and the mode of administration. This means that comparisons between organisations are difficult to interpret and individual organisations’ ratings may not be comparable over time. Despite these limitations, the scope of services covered by the FFT within the NHS is growing. Initially an assessment of inpatient and accident and emergency services, it now also covers Staff, Accident & Emergency and maternity services.
NEQOS has already produced its first report on organisations performance in the inpatient FFT in 2014/15. During 2015/16, NEQOS will produce further bespoke reports for subscribers, with analysis and commentary on FFT results along with an outline of the challenges in interpreting the findings.
NEQOS also provide advice on how to maximise response to the survey, which is essential if the findings from the survey are not to be biased by low response rates.