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First Results from NHS Friends and Family Test Out Today!

New data from the NHS Friends and Family survey, which asks patients whether they would recommend  A&E and in-patient wards to their nearest and dearest based on their own experience, has been released today.

The survey, which will grow into the most comprehensive ever undertaken, covers around 4,500 NHS wards and 144 A&E services. It allows hospital trusts to gain real time feedback on their services down to individual ward level and increases the transparency of NHS data to drive up choice and quality.

Friends and Family Test Results

The Friends and Family Test was introduced in April this year and this release of information covers the first three months of the survey.  There are wide variations in numbers of respondents which affect overall scores but highlights include:

  • Over the first three months, over 400,000 NHS patients completed the survey.
  • Specialist hospitals tended to have higher scores for in-patient services.
  • The Friends and Family Test scores are available at Trust, hospital, speciality and ward level.
  • In-patient data was submitted by all 157 Acute NHS trusts as well as Independent sector providers, and A&E data by all 144 providers of relevant A&E services.
  • A&E service scores ranged from 100 to minus 13, with the top ten Trusts landing between 100 and 79. (FFT scoring ranges between +100 and -100).
  • The scores for in-patients ranged from 100 to 43.
  • There has been a steady increase in the numbers of respondents each month, increasing from 108,000 in April to 160,000 in June, with a total of 404,657 responses gathered for the quarter April to June 2013.
  • The England-wide response rate for both in-patient and A&E surveys was 13.1 per cent.


The Friends and Family Test is based on one simple question, 'How likely are you to recommend our ward/A&E department to your friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?' Patients are presented with six responses ranging from 'extremely likely' through to 'extremely unlikely'.

If you are asked to complete this survey please do so - the more patients who respond the more accurate picture can be obtained.

The scores are calculated by analysing responses and categorising them into promoters, detractors and neutral (passive) responses. The proportion of responses that are promoters and the proportion that are detractors are calculated and the proportion of detractors is then subtracted from the proportion of promoters to provide an overall 'net promoter' score.

Those that say they are 'extremely likely' are counted as promoters. 'Likely' is neutral, 'neither unlikely nor likely', 'unlikely' and 'extremely unlikely' are all counted as detractors.

When looking at the scores for individual trusts it is important to look at what lies behind the overall score.  The score should not be looked at in isolation; both the response rate, that is  what percentage of people responded and the total number of responses, should be looked at to gauge how representative the overall score may or may not be.

For example, Trust A may have scored 100 but it could be based on only 5 responses out of 1,000 patients who received services, so its score only represents a small percentage of its users.  Trust B may have also scored 100 taken from a relatively small number of overall responses, say 50, but this is out of 100 patients and so can be said to be more representative.

The NHS already collects a large amount of data on patient experience but one of the challenges of the existing survey programme has been that the gap between data collection and reporting has been relatively long. One of the key benefits of the Friends and Family Test is that the data is produced in a timely manner so hospitals and other providers of services can act upon it quickly.