Updated guidance has been published on the friends and family test to help make it more inclusive.
The new guidance will be aimed at offering the test to children and young people – with special provisions for looked after children – as well as patients with learning disabilities, dementia, language and literacy issues or patients who are deaf or deafblind.
‘It is important to get this right so that the NHS hears from all patients about the services they have experienced and how they can be improved,’ Tim Kelsey, national director for patients and information, said.
‘Patients in these particular groups are important and often regular users of healthcare services and their voices need to be heard as much as everyone else’s.
‘We’re keen that healthcare providers continue to give us feedback on how well this is working.’
Friends and family test
A number of providers have fed back to the NHS on how they have found using the friends and family test.
The NHS has said much of the feedback was positive but that there were also some concerns voiced:
- Concerns about any distress/upset being caused to patients due to the way in which the standard friends and family test question can be interpreted by some of these patient groups
- The burden on NHS staff in spending time explaining the standard question to patients in these groups
- The variation in supplementary information given within and across organisations as providers tried to adapt the standard question to meet the needs of their patients.
The changes in the updated guidance on making the friends and family test inclusive should be implemented from October 2015 but may be used before this by organisations that are ready.
The updated guidance can be found here.
Click on ‘NHS funded services’ in the first paragraph, the section on making the friends and family test inclusive begins on page 66.