The Friends and Family Test has been introduced in A&E and hospitals by NHS England (formerly the NHS Commissioning Board), who described it as a “major step forward”.
The test will be rolled out to all NHS-funded services over the next few years, the government has claimed.
Patients who stay overnight in hospital or visit an A&E will be asked whether they would recommend the service to their friends and family members.
There will be six choices of answer, ranging from “extremely likely” to “extremely unlikely”. The patients will then be invited to answer follow-up questions to give more detail on their answer.
The results will then be published on NHS Choices, allowing the public to compare patient feedback and “make choices about their care”, according to a government statement.
“To make improvements, and make them quickly, it is vital that we welcome honest, up-to-the-minute feedback from our patients, listen to them and act upon their views,” said NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey.
Kelsey said regular feedback can have “a tremendous impact in a really short space of time.”
He added: “The Friends and Family test is an important first step in changing the nature of the relationship between the NHS and the people it serves.”
The feedback can be used by hospitals to “identify and tackle concerns”, so that best practice can be spread.
Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Jane Cummings said: “The Friends and Family test is a really simple way for patients to let us know if we could improve the standard of care we’re giving, and that’s really important.
“Giving compassionate care is at the heart of what we do and listening to the experiences and feedback of patients is central to NHS values.”