Changes coming to NHS Friends and Family Tests

Philip Cleave
August 2, 2019

The “Friends and Family Test” (FFT) has played a vital role in gathering feedback for NHS organizations for several years. We’ve been proud to supply a number of NHS organizations with an online solution for their FFT surveys, so of course, it’s a field we pay close attention to.

It’s recently been announced that the FFT will be changing, on the basis of feedback that’s been received in the last few years and a consultation program to determine what the new format should be. Recently we received preliminary details about the upcoming changes, so we wanted to share this information with our customers.

The Existing FFT

If you don’t know, the FFT consists of two compulsory elements. The first is a rating question:

“How likely are you to recommend our service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?”

Patients respond by choosing from one of the following options:

  • extremely likely
  • likely
  • neither likely nor unlikely
  • unlikely
  • extremely unlikely
  • don’t know

The second compulsory element is that a free-text comment box be provided for the patient to offer any further comments. The wording for this is not set and can be chosen by the organization to suit their needs. In addition, organizations are expected to collect demographic data.

Identified issues

One of the key issues with the current question wording is that patients may not have friends or family that they could recommend the service to. This could make the question insensitive to their current situation and also lead to incorrect data. Also, some areas of treatment are personally sensitive and they may not feel that this treatment is something they would discuss.

The Changes

The question will be:

“Thinking about [setting]…

Overall, how was your experience of our service?”

Where [setting] is replaced by something appropriate to the service, such as “this GP practice”, “this physiotherapy department”, as required.

Answered on a scale:

  • Very good
  • Good
  • Neither good nor poor
  • Poor
  • Very poor
  • Don’t know

The more generic wording, and asking more directly for a rating of the service rather than asking about a possible recommendation, are expected to be more inclusive and lead to better data.

Other changes are planned to the timing requirements around data gathering, with a more flexible approach being introduced.

When does the new NHS FFT start?

Full details are expected to be published in September and the new test itself will be put in place in April 2020.

Collecting FFT data using online surveys has many advantages across security, privacy, and accessibility, which is why so many NHS organizations have chosen us to provide the online survey platform they use to deliver this important part of the feedback process.


Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.