NHS England commissioned Sands to carry out a short survey among bereaved parents, about the Friends and Family Test (FFT), which is a single question survey asking patients whether they would recommend the NHS service they have received to friends and family who need similar treatment or care. The FFT has up until recently, only been conducted among inpatients and patients discharged from A&E. However, from 1 October 2013, the test was introduced to those who use a hospital’s maternity services. NHS England wanted to find out whether it would be acceptable to use a version of the FTT with parents who have had a miscarriage, termination for abnormality, stillbirth or neonatal death.

We devised an online survey to gather feedback and received an excellent level of response from bereaved parents; thank you to all those who participated. Our report was submitted and as a result NHS England have concluded that it would NOT be appropriate to use the Friends and Family Test with parents who have had a miscarriage, termination for abnormality, stillbirth or neonatal death.

Kath Evans, Head of Patient Experience – Maternity, Newborn, Children and Young People for NHS England, said, “The Sands survey results provided clear guidance that bereaved families will not be asked the FFT question. More work needs to be done in the future to ensure that if feedback is obtained it is done in a sensitive way and at a time that is convenient for the bereaved family.”

Ronnie Turner, Improving Bereavement Care Manager at Sands, said, “This is a fantastic example of how parents’ voices can be harnessed to have a real and meaningful impact on policy and patient care.  We are pleased that NHS England has taken on board the feedback of bereaved parents and adjusted their plans accordingly.  We look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

NHS England has issued a note of clarification to inform all those involved with the FTT, that recently bereaved parents should not be approached with the questionnaire.  However, should they request one they should be given the opportunity to use it to provide feedback.

For more information on the FTT, visit http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/pe/fft/