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

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Home > News > Friends and family test rolled out at hospitals

Friends and family test rolled out at hospitals

Posted on Wednesday 30th January 2013
Crea Simpson

Crea Simpson listens to patients' views

Patients in North Cumbria will soon be asked whether they would recommend to family and friends the hospital where they were treated, as part of a national campaign to drive up standards in the NHS.

The ‘friends and family’ test was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last year and will be in place at all acute hospitals by April 2013. Initially, inpatients spending at least one night in hospital and patients attending A&E will be surveyed, within 48 hours of discharge.

They will be asked: ‘How likely are you to recommend our A&E/Ward to friends and family if they needed similar care?’ and asked to give a response ranging from ‘extremely likely’ to ‘extremely unlikely’.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has already begun piloting the scheme, using a telephone service to contact inpatients within 48 hours of their stay to put the ‘friends and family’ question to them.

Once the scheme has been fully rolled out, patients will be given a postcard to fill in on their arrival at A&E or on discharge from the ward in the case of inpatients. There will be boxes throughout the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven for patients to post these cards before leaving.

The answers 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.

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 urge anyone who is given one of the ‘friends and family’ cards to fill in, or telephoned and asked the question, to take part in the survey. The more responses we get, the more useful the data we collect will be.”

Initially the 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.