Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Friends and family test should no longer be mandatory

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 29 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k367

Rapid Response:

Re: Friends and family test should no longer be mandatory

This article is timely and resonates with much of our experience about how you capture data and measure for improvement. We work with teams to identify a small number of improvement measures which are directly relevant to the testing of ideas which are predicted to make improvement. Experience is often an after thought so although there is growing 'big data' from surveys it is can often feel remote from those trying to make improvements close to the patient where even trying to embed or access routinely collected data is a Kafkaesque battle with IT systems, policies and governance.

We encourage teams to ask for feedback only if there is a commitment to act on it. A team we work with recently tested an experience survey, something they had never done as they had few complaints and very positive feedback but in testing the survey, access to the site for wheelchair users was found to be a real issue and support for carers who are looking after people at the end of life could be improved. As a result, the team have already made changes to improve access and are looking at what needs could be better met with carers.

Tempting to say simple, no big deal, but the point is unless you ask you are just guessing and what you ask and why helps to get to what matters most - not just handing out surveys to make us feel like we are doing something. We might feel better for it but do patients and carers share that view?

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 February 2018
Rachel Matthews
Programme Lead Ptient and Public Engagement and Involvement
NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Northwest London
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London SW10 6NH