You are likely to see posters, leaflets and feedback forms at the moment if you go into hospital as an inpatient, to an outpatient specialist service, your GP surgery, or your dentist.
I had a hospital appointment today, so I completed the quick form afterwards. I felt respected and wanted to give that feedback, as I haven’t always felt that in the past. I’ve put this blog post in the “Campaigning” section of my blog because I think it’s an easy and effective way of providing constructive feedback to improve the services we use, as it’s important that we have a good experience, where we have felt respected and treated well.
The Friends and Family Test is a quick, easy, and anonymous way of providing feedback. All it involves is thinking about the answer to the question:
“How likely are you to recommend our service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?”
You can rank your answer from “extremely likely” to “extremely unlikely”, and underneath this on the form is a comments box if you would like to expand on your answer or make recommendations.
The short cartoon below shows how the Friends and Family Test works. There’s no speech in it, so you can have the sound off if your M.E. makes you sensitive to noise. To find out how the feedback is used or any other aspect, visit the NHS Choices Friends & Family Test page.
What if you’d like to make a formal complaint instead?
Like many people with M.E., I have had very mixed treatment in the NHS and bad experiences can stay with us as painful memories. I have used the NHS Complaints Procedure, and I found it a good way to get an apology, make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to other patients, and get some closure about being treated unfairly.
To find out more about how to make a complaint and getting help to do this from the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service, see the NHS Choices page Tips on how to make a complaint.
It can be difficult to stand up for ourselves when we’re ill with M.E., so the Action for M.E. self-advocacy resource, Nothing about M.E. without me, also contains specific useful advice for people with M.E. about our rights in health and social care, how to get our needs met effectively, and how to make complaints.