A new test to improve care in hospitals in England will allow patients to rate the treatment they receive. The “friends and family test” will ask people whether they would recommend the hospital to their loved ones. The Prime Minister will announce that the test is to be used from April 2013.
The Nursing and Care Quality Forum, which was announced in January to address concerns about the way some patients are treated, wrote to Mr. Cameron recommending the test. Mr. Cameron said: “In every hospital, patients are going to be able to answer a simple question, whether they’d want a friend or relative to be treated there in their hour of need. By making those answers public we’re going to give everyone a really clear idea of where to get the best care – and drive other hospitals to raise their game.” (Yahoo News, May 12)
Forum chair Sally Brearley said: “The friends and family test is a useful way for staff to look at their place of work, and for patients to look at the quality of care they receive, and for them to judge whether they would be content for a loved one to use that service, should they need treatment.” (Yahoo News, May 12)
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has welcomed the new test. It will play an important part in contributing to the work as it develops and there will be a focus on acting on the results to ensure that continuous improvements are made.
The “family and friends” test is important in ensuring confidence in care providers. It is an important start in finding out what matters to patients.