Valuing patient and community voices  | Our news

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Valuing patient and community voices 

nurse and patent

The volume of feedback we are getting from patients and their families has almost doubled in the last year and people are overwhelmingly positive about their care. 

Responses to the Friends and Family Test (FFT) are now running at over 12,000 a month and provide a rolling commentary on patient experience for staff on the wards.  

From over 100,000 comments received over the last year, only one in eight were recorded as negative and the most common concern was about waiting to be seen. 

Yet this was overshadowed by the sheer volume of compliments. Comments about compassion, emotional and physical support, friendliness, professional competence, and helpfulness accounted for the vast majority of responses.  

All patients are invited to give anonymous feedback through the FFT by filling in a simple form. About 40% are received by text message and hospitals are using QR codes and iPads to make the process even easier. 

We received 12,365 responses in June, slightly down on the record 12,900 in May but a significant increase from 6,658 last June and 5,675 in January 2022.   

Where patients had concerns, the FFT is helpful to identify where a hospital needs to focus its improvement efforts. Pain, discomfort and dissatisfaction with facilities are recurrent themes. 

Nikant Ailawadi, director of patient experience and insight, said:

“Judging sentiment is a subjective exercise and each comment contains its own story. For example, comments about pain are not necessarily where we caused pain, but where pain was the backdrop for an observation. Hence we had comments like ‘My pain was not taken seriously due to my race and gender’ or ‘I was in pain but it wasn’t life-threatening so not important’ that each point to a bigger issue that our hospitals need to address.”      

In addition to FFT responses we received just over 1,500 official complaints from patients and the public during 2022-23. This was slightly down on the previous year, smaller as a proportion of bed-days, and lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic.  

An increasing majority of these formal complaints are about a patient’s diagnosis or treatment, although official complaints in the next most popular category (about poor communication from staff) are declining.  

The FFT responses for the last year included about 5,000 comments on ‘quality of treatment’ and a similar number on ‘communicating with patients’ but the vast majority of comments in each category were positive.  


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