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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Would you recommend our hospitals to friends and family?

Would you recommend our hospitals to friends and family?

Posted on Tuesday 16th April 2013
Friends and family

Crea Simpson with A&E staff at the Cumberland Infirmary

Patients in North Cumbria are being asked whether they would recommend the hospital where they were treated to family and friends, as part of a national Department of Health programme to improve standards across the NHS.

From 1 April, adult patients attending our Accident & Emergency departments or spending the night in hospital have been asked to rate how likely they would be to recommend the service or ward to their friends or family if they needed similar care or treatment.

Inpatients will be given a card on the day they are discharged featuring the message ‘Two minutes of your time’ on one side and a short survey on the other. Included in the survey is the same question being asked of patients across England: ‘How likely are you to recommend our A&E/Ward to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?’ with possible responses ranging from ‘extremely likely’ to ‘extremely unlikely’. There are boxes throughout both hospitals for patients to post the cards in before they leave.

A&E patients are asked the same question on discharge, but rather than being given a card to fill in, they are asked to post a token in one of a series of boxes, labelled from ‘extremely likely’ to ‘extremely unlikely’. The system is also being used by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the Trust which will take over the running of the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital later this year.

The ‘friends and family’ test was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last year and should now be in place at all acute hospitals across the UK.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary, began piloting the scheme several weeks ago and the response from patients has been positive.

Crea Simpson, Matron for Patient Experience at the Trust, said: “We already have a number of measures in place for patients to give us feedback about our services, but this will be a useful tool to see how we are doing compared with other hospitals nationally.

“I would encourage anyone who is given one of the ‘friends and family’ cards to fill in, or one of the tokens to post in A&E, to take part in the survey. The more responses we get, the more useful the data we collect will be, so we really need patients to help us by posting their token or completed card. This is your chance to tell us about your experience as a patient and it really does only take a couple of minutes.”

Nationally the responses will be published to allow the public to compare healthcare services, use the information to make choices about their care, champion their local trusts that excel and challenge others to improve.

Initially the friends and family test will not apply to outpatients, day cases, maternity service users, inpatients and A&E patients under the age of 16, and primary and community care services. However, it is expected to be rolled out to more areas soon.