Are you ready for the friends and family test?

Friends and Family TestThe friends and family test is coming to your practice very soon, its aim is to help practices understand their services.

Following the successful launch of the friends and family test into primary and secondary care services, dental practices providing treatment commissioned by NHS England will have to offer patients the opportunity to give feedback using the friends and family test from 1 April 2015.

What is the friends and family test?

The friends and family test is continuous rather than a traditional one-off survey. Patients must be able to give feedback after every interaction with the practice, and anyone on the practice list should be able to complete the test at any time. It is up to the individual practice how it promotes the test and how it collects responses.

So, why should you bother? Apart from the obvious contractual obligation you should embrace this because patient feedback or views on your practice will give you invaluable insight and help you improve your business.

How do I implement the friends and family test?

NHS England has published guidance on how the test should be implemented. The friends and family test is anonymous and practices must use the standard wording and responses of the primary question (see below). They must also include at least one follow-up question of their own choice, which allows the opportunity to provide free text.

The primary friends and family test question is: ’We would like you to think about your recent experiences of our service. How likely are you to recommend our dental practice to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?’

The responses are: Extremely likely; Likely; Neither likely nor unlikely; Unlikely; Extremely unlikely; Don’t know.

NHS England will publish the results of the initial question centrally each month, while the practice will be expected to publish its results locally, including responses to the follow-up question or questions. Patients must have the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of having any comments they make made public.

Practices will also be expected to give feedback to patients on what happens to their responses, particularly where action has been taken as a direct result of the feedback received.


If implemented well and the practice team and patients are engaged properly from the outset, the friends and family test can really enhance your understanding of your practice; identifying successes to celebrate as well as ways to improve.

Comments (2)

FFT is frankly bonkers!
It has been discredited by the GMP’s and now they want to inflict it on us.
A well thought out survey used to make improvements is extremely valuable.
This however is certainly not that. If you would like further proof of how barmy the DOH are; here’s their reply regarding FFT and children completing it:
Many thanks for your email with regards to children responding to the FFT questionnaires. All children and young people are to be included across all FFT. The guidance states that “It is recommended that children under the age of 5 be given an appropriate level of assistance but that in the older age groups, the child or young person should be allowed to complete the FFT on their own if they can”. There is not set a minimum or maximum age range as the intention is that all patients are given the opportunity to give their feedback. Therefore, it will be more appropriate for a parent or carer to respond on behalf of a child who is under the age of 5. For more information please see page 71-75 of the main guidance which can be found on the link below.

So does this replace the patient surveys we carry out anyway as required by CQC? Or is it merely duplication in another form?
Frankly, knowing how busy NHS practices are, is it the receptionist who is expected to explain this to patients or will it be the dentist who is busy trying to achieve his UDA’s?
Also will this be used to beat dentists further?
I don’t hear any uproar from our representatives about this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *