Friends and Family Test performance

The Friends and Family Test helps service providers and commissioners understand whether their patients are happy with the service provided, or where improvements are needed.

The NHS Friends and Family Test (FFT) is a national patient survey which began in 2013. It is an important and simple way for patients to give feedback about their care and treatment. From April 2020, a new question has replaced the original FFT question about whether people would recommend the service they used to their friends and family. There have also been some important changes made to the way the FFT is used. See Friends and Family Test (FFT) – NHS for more information. There have been delays in some services being able to implement the new guidance in full due to the impact of the coronavirus on services.

Staff participate in an equivalent survey every three months.

What are patients asked?

Patients are now asked the following standard question: “Overall, how was your experience of our service?”

A scale of answer options are available from very good to very poor.

Patients also have the opportunity to comment further so that the Trust can find out more details about their response which may help drive improvements.

How is the survey carried out?

The Trust currently carries out the survey in a number of ways including paper surveys, online surveys and automated telephone calls. The Trust is currently continuing to use prompts to encourage feedback at discharge and after Emergency Department and outpatient appointments until new processes to enable easy access for feedback at any time are embedded.

What is the legal basis for processing this data?

The NHS Act 2006 Section 13E (inserted by Health and Social Care Act 2012) specifies that the NHS has a duty to secure continuous improvement in quality of services to individuals, particularly the quality of experience undergone by patients.

NHS England discharges this duty via the NHS Standard Contract. Organisations undertaking the FFT as part of the NHS Standard Contract are therefore ‘exercising official authority’ in doing so and this is the legal basis under the GDPR.

The use of identifiable health information (such as attendance at a particular clinic) is ‘Special Category Data’ and is covered in article 9(2)(h) under ‘the management of health or social care systems’ and permissible under the GDPR.

A third party provider runs the automated telephone service using data provided by the Trust under a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP). Responses are processed by the Trust within the UK. People are not identified through the responses and free text comments provided unless they indicate that they wish to have further contact from a member of staff, when we would extract contact information if available.

The Trust is implementing processes to ensure we comply with the National data opt-out requirements by the deadline set by NHS Digital.

If you do not wish to participate in the survey, please contact The Patient Experience Team on 01423 555499 or [email protected].

People do have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, visit

What are the latest results?

How to interpret the results

The downloadable tables present more detailed results for each of our services.

Data prior to 2020/21 includes the following measures:

  • % recommending – this is the proportion of patients who responded “Extremely Likely” or “Likely” to the FFT question
  • % not recommending – this is the proportion of patients who responded “Extremely Unlikely” or “Unlikely” to the FFT question
  • Responses – this is the total number of patients who chose to answer the FFT question

Following the introduction of the new guidance during 2020/21, the data will include:

  • % with a good or very good experience of services
  • % with a poor or very poor experience of services

What does the Trust do with the FFT feedback?

The Trust monitors the scores and comments received for each ward, department and service. Ward, department and service managers will share the results with staff, celebrating positive feedback and taking appropriate actions to address any concerns that are identified. The inpatient wards have notice boards where they display summary information, any themes emerging from patient feedback and any actions taken as a result of comments received as part of FFT.

Some examples of the specific actions that we have taken based on patient feedback via the FFT survey include:

  • Providing water fountains and cooling fans in patient areas;
  • Providing more information to patients waiting to be seen in the Emergency Department about the length of time they are likely to have to wait;
  • Photo boards with staff names and roles have been developed for wards to make it clearer to patients, carers and families who each member of staff is.