Private Business Intermediaries

Friends and Family Test to be Launched in NHS Hosptials

08/02/2013 | By Sharmila Chauhan
David Cameron has apologised to the families of the people who were affected the Stafford Hospital scandal. The inquiry, which has now come to its conclusions, has called for a fundamental change in the culture of the NHS.

Robert Francis QC has called for zero tolerance to poor standards of care and suggested that the NHS – should focus on patient care and not targets and money. He also recommended criminal prosecutions for hospitals where fundamental standards are not adhered to,  and closure of hospitals that persistently produce poor care.

A new set of fundamental standards have been recommended to be enforced by a single regulator.  These include the “Friends and Family Test” which will be implemented in April – where staff and patients are asked if friends or family should be treated in the hospital. It has been hailed by David Cameron last week as a means of ratcheting up standards of care in hospitals and GP surgeries.

The ‘Compassion in Practice’  document has also been recently published to support this change in the culture of the NHS and has been described as the ‘blueprint for respectful and dignified care across the NHS’.

New measures will include:
  • Patient satisfaction tests: The 'Friends and Family’ tests and patient-led inspections will be introduced across all hospitals. The test will show hospitals what patients and staff care about most, and will be used to trigger improvements in services and performance.
  • Better training: Training and career development opportunities for health care assistants to progress through to fully-fledged nursing roles. New minimum training standards for care staff will be published within weeks.
  • Understanding dementia: One in 4 hospitals beds is occupied by someone with dementia, understanding the condition is crucial. New training on the condition will be made available to all staff, from porters to doctors.
  • More nursing rounds: Nine in ten hospitals have introduced hour by hour care rounds the government wants to see this extended so all hospitals provide nurse ward rounds
  • Better district nursing: A new ‘vision for district nursing’ will be published shortly to help to support this important role

Whilst there has been criticism around these changes – an acknowledgement that the NHS needs to change its culture in terms of patient care - can only help to improve things in the future.