It's the survey that David Cameron said will force under-performing hospitals to 'raise their game'.
But tonight, the NHS Friends and Family test is itself under scrutiny, after it was revealed that over 80% of patients in Devon and Cornwall didn't take part in it.
The survey, designed to give people a voice about the treatment they receive at our local hospitals, has been called difficult and confusing. And now its value is being questioned.
Our Health Correspondent Jacquie Bird explains:
– Department of Health spokeswoman
The test and the scoring system has already been piloted successfully by some NHS trusts since 2012, and already led to lots of changes, including simple steps like increasing the amount of fruit on offer to patients during the day.
It's still early days for this test, but we know that it's fast, provides data down to ward level and patients can use it to make choices.
This is a real achievement."
The NHS asked patients if they would recommend their local Accident and Emergency Department and hospital (for inpatient care) to friends and family.
The response rate was very low. Nationally, it was 10% for A&E recommendations and 27% for inpatient care recommendations.
The response rate for the Royal Cornwall Hospital was:
- 1.4% for A&E recommendations
- 28.2% for inpatient care recommendations
The response rate in Devon was:
- North Devon Hospital: 2.3% (A&E) and 13.8% (inpatient care)
- Derriford Hospital: 9.8% (A&E) and 12.2% (inpatient care)
- Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital: 1.5% (A&E) and 5.9% (inpatient care)
- South Devon: 3.3% (A&E) and 23.6% (inpatient care)
A small percentage of people in Cornwall and Devon responded to a survey asking them about their experience in hospital.
4.3% of patients treated in A&E departments in the region responded to the NHS England Friends and Family Survey.
It is supposed to give people an idea of the best performing hospital according to the patients.
Of that small number, 77 per cent of inpatients surveyed in Cornwall and Devon said they would be extremely likely to recommend the hospital they were treated at.
Almost 700,000 patients were eligible to take the 'Friends and Family Test' in June 2013 to rate their Accident and Emergency service but only 10% completed the survey.
Almost two-thirds of patients would be extremely likely to recommend their accident and emergency ward in which they were treated to friends and family, according to a survey.
Results for for A&E departments in England for June showed:
- 62.6% would be extremely likely to recommend their A&E service
- 25.6% would be likely to recommend their A&E service
- 4.1% would be neither likely or unlikely to recommend their A&E service
- 2.4% would be unlikely to recommend their A&E service
- 3.2% would be extremely unlikely to recommend their A&E service
- 2.2% did not know
The Friends and Family Test is a key part of the solution to driving up standards in hospitals, NHS England's national director for patients and information said today, after it was revealed the report would be published for the first time today.
Tim Kelsey said:
At the heart of the tragedy of Mid Staffordshire was one simple lesson: the NHS has got to do better at listening to patients and doing something about what they say.
This is a radical response, a potential game changer. It creates a direct conversation and gives NHS staff the opportunity to respond quickly to what they are being told. Patients can also use the information to see what others are saying about the services.
We hope to encourage a patient-led revolution in healthcare, driven by the transparency, better information and public participation in design of services.