Health insurance: Patients to carry out NHS friends and family test
A new scheme which goes by the name of 'the friends and family test' is to be rolled out across the NHS, prime minister David Cameron confirmed today.
The scheme, which allows hospital patients to register whether they would recommend their own treatment in care to friends or family, is designed to help improve care and standards in UK hospitals.
To be rolled out from 2013, the scheme will endeavour to "make sure that patients get the right care", according to Mr Cameron and it was one of the main recommendations made by the Nursing Quality Care Forum.
This was set up in January so as to address concerns over the treatment of patients.
Currently, a similar system is used in relation to NHS staff and the place in which they work during an annual survey but this move represents the first time the opportunity will be granted to patients.
Announcing the move, David Cameron said: "In every hospital, patients are going to be able to answer a simple question, whether they'd want a friend or relative to be treated there in their hour of need.
"By making those answers public we're going to give everyone a really clear idea of where to get the best care – and drive other hospitals to raise their game."
However, not all of the forum's recommendations appear to have been heeded by the government.
Suggestions such as a review of staff levels and a wider skill mix were both mooted but as yet there has been no sign from the government that these are to be recommended.
In a letter to David Cameron, the forum's chair Sally Brearley to say these recommendations should be heeded as "there are problems with the quality of some nursing care, and some of these problems are very serious".
However, according to OnMedica, she qualified this by saying: "Such cases are not representative of the quality of care that the majority of nurses deliver.
"There are examples of individuals, teams and organisations working tirelessly to deliver excellent care to the people who use their services, and we need to learn from them."