Is the Friends and Family Test Fit for Purpose?

The Friends and Family Test (FFT) has recently undergone a major review by NHS England, and very little has changed….

The FFT itself is a good tool with great potential. Some people advocate collecting feedback in-person, over the phone, or via a passive website and do all they can to criticise the FFT. Those approaches have their place but they are expensive and simply cannot scale in a way that is needed to provide the NHS with a reliable picture of patient experience.

The biggest challenge the NHS face with the FFT is how to collect patient feedback. Only 70% of people over 75 have a mobile phone, and just 47% of over 75s are recent internet users. However, over 75s account for about 25% of all NHS patients. The NHS has to be inclusive, and must provide a method for all patients to complete the FFT, including collecting feedback with feedback cards, in-person, over the phone, or via a passive website such as NHS Choices. 

The majority of Patients are also Savvy Consumers.

87% of all retail purchases are made online by 75% 0f the population, these people don’t want to find the NHS Choices website, or fill in a paper card to provide their feedback, and they certainly don’t want to receive a pre recorded nuisance phone call…! 

Savvy Consumers want to give their feedback the same way that they do when they open a bank account, stay in a hotel or buy clothes online. Savvy Consumers are happy to receive an email asking about their experience after making a purchase.

The Friends and Family Test is a good tool, but the NHS are excluding the majority of their patients from using it, simply by not engaging with patients on their chosen channels of Email and Text… That is why we created Hootvox.

NHS Trusts typically achieve a 3-5% response rate from their combined survey methods…. Hootvox Email and SMS Text surveys achieve anywhere between 20% and 80% and easily integrate feedback collected by other methods. 


Mark Sadler, Founder.


Mark has been involved with ratings and reviews since 2011 and supported NHS Choices with their work to gather feedback on social care providers in 2012. Mark is passionate about quality in review systems and fully supports the CMA guidelines published in 2015. 



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