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Friends and family test extended across NHS in England

Test will cover community nursing, maternity, mental health and outpatients

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 02 October 2013

The Friends and Family Test is being extended to all NHS services in England, the Cabinet Office has announced.

Minister Francis Maude said that rollout of the test has begun this week, and that by the end of March 2015 it will cover community nursing, maternity services, mental health care and outpatients appointments.

All new mothers using maternity services in England – with about 700,000 births a year – will be asked whether or not they would recommend their maternity services to their family or friends, based on the care they received during pregnancy and birth.

Mr Maude said: “We know that transparency delivers better public services. It drives up standards, informs choice and holds providers to account. This extension of the Friends and Family Test will put more power in the hands of the public, allowing them to give clear and honest feedback on the services that hard-working families use every day.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the move. He pointed out that since its introduction this April, the test has already brought about substantial improvements in many parts of the NHS by allowing A&E users and inpatients to give feedback right down to ward level.

He said: “In its first 4 months alone, over half a million patients have had their say through the Friends and Family Test. If their local service doesn’t listen to them, patients can vote with their feet and go elsewhere.

“We’ve seen how services … have made huge improvements by listening to patients. Making the Friends and Family Test apply to all parts of the NHS will make those improvements go further and faster.

“The NHS is embracing the need for more patient feedback – these are the seeds of lasting culture change. Patients will be given unparalleled opportunities to hold health services to account and choose their care as the Friends and Family Test is rolled out across the NHS.”

The Cabinet Office added that the Friends and Family test is also being introduced for assessing other public services including Jobcentre Plus, further education courses and the National Citizen Service.

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