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

Whilst I totally understand the argument around the Friends and Family Test outlined in the article, I feel some form of patient experience feedback should be mandatory. I agree the core FFT question is not relevant in many situations (consider a patient in an inpatient mental health ward who has just been sectioned being asked "Would you recommend the service to your friends and family".)

Given cost pressures in the NHS at present if it were to become non-mandatory listening to patients may be at risk. Good organisations ensure that the FFT is just one element of the feedback mechanisms they support and use within the organisation. Information is additionally sought from patients tailored to the specialty and patient cohort. Other methodologies such as focus groups, online feedback mechanisms and structured interviews may all be at risk if there were no mandatory requirement. Without patient experience feedback, in whatever form, support from Patient Experience teams for busy front line staff would inevitably disappear in this financial climate and then where would the patient voice be?

Competing interests: I manage the Friends and Family Test in an NHS Trust

31 January 2018
JC Yeates
Patient Experience Coordinator