Manage the Change in Friends and Family Test Regulations for 2015

26th Sep, 2014
Read time: 2 minutes

In April 2013 the UK Government introduced the Friends and Family Test (FFT) to survey Accident and Emergency (A&E) and Inpatients to determine their likelihood of recommending the Trust from which they had received treatment to a friend or family member. Over one million surveys were completed within the first six months and as a result the government has decided to expand the project to include:

  • December 2014 – All GP practices
  • January 2015 – Mental Health and Community Services
  • April 2015 – NHS Dental Practices, Ambulance and Patient Transport services, Acute Hospital Outpatients and Day Cases

This presents NHS health organisations with a real challenge. Typically the NHS treats over one million patients every 36 hours. Leaders know that delivering FFT needs to be patient friendly, require little administration, and provide real-time response achieving this at an effective cost. Trusts and Hospitals need to ensure:

  • A 15% minimum response level or more
  • It is easy for patients to use while requiring only minimal staff administration
  • Real-time reporting enabling rapid response
  • A centralised solution for all departments

Our solution architects recommend an automated telephone and SMS prompted telephone survey system as the best solution for these challenges.

Increases completion rates

A year after introduction an average of only 22% of patients have completed surveys. This means 78% of patient views are unknown. Working without patient feedback reduces an organisations ability to improve its services and level of care.

By introducing an automated telephone or SMS prompted telephone survey from Netcall, Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was able to raise its completion rate from 7.9% to 31.5%, double the National average for A&E departments in January 2014. Reducing patient effort is a key factor in the successful use of telephone surveys. For more information on reducing effort required to contact your organisation please read our blog.

Saving time and administration for staff

As patient survey response increases so too will the amount of data for analysis and transfer to other appropriate systems. Data entry is a very time intensive task. Automation releases skilled and highly trained healthcare professionals from data handling, allowing them to spend their valuable time with patients.Automated telephone and SMS prompted telephone surveys rapidly feeds the information gathered from the patient straight into the Trust's data collection and reporting system. After initial set up, staff input is minimal and can be used across every department of the Trust, centralising all patient feedback into a single system.

Cost-effectively contact thousands of patients

Several methods such as; electronic kiosk, paper surveys at point of discharge, paper surveys sent to patients homes and online surveys have been used to collect FFT feedback. While useful, these methods are acknowledged to have cost and practicality drawbacks.

Electronic kiosks have high initial purchase costs or ongoing rental charges whilst postal and stationary charges would quickly mount up paper based surveys, especially for the largest Trusts.

Online surveys are cheaper to implement but rarely used by Trusts and Hospitals with only approximately 0.005% of all A&E patient responses coming through online methods in April 2014.

The Friends and Family Surveys from Netcall automatically calls landlines and mobiles, typically costing less than a penny for a 45 second call, a very cost effective option.

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