The Challenge

The Friends and Family Test (FFT) is nationally mandated by NHS England. It provides a vital service ensuring that patients have a feedback mechanism about the treatment they receive. It asks patients if they would recommend the service and offers a range of responses. Gathering this feedback is important as it helps identify what is working well and what could be improved.

Typically, NHS services offer this as a paper-based questionnaire. Patients are handed a questionnaire which they complete and hand in. The questionnaires are then gathered, all the data recorded and input by staff and reported on to NHS England. This data is made available every month.

However, response rates can be low and there is a significant burden on organisations to collate and input the manual results.

The service has been developed by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust who operate a hybrid of paper and digital surveys.


Case study – Digitising the Friends and Family Test

how does the health call friends & family service work?

  • Patients are sent a text message after treatment, asking them to complete the questionnaire
  • In the message there is a link to the form, which they can complete on their device
  • If the patient doesn’t respond, it will send up to two reminders over a 14-day cycle
  • The first message is issued a day after their interaction, giving them time to reflect on their experience
  • When patients receive the form, it gives them a drop-down selection to identify which department they attended, which helps improve the quality of the data

What are the benefits of the Health Call friends & family service?

  • Higher response rates in some areas compared to the paper forms
  • More comments and qualitative data provided by patients
  • Able to report in more real-time as the data is captured at the point of entry
  • Reduction in burden on administrative function as no manual data entry is required

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It’s such a simple fix but it is already having such a big impact. The platform has streamlined the process of collating feedback by removing timely and costly reliance on paper surveys. We have also seen a significant rise in the number of responses we are receiving from patients and the digital survey allows for more detailed responses, which is incredibly valuable to us.


Case study – Digitising the Friends and Family Test