Published on: 1 July 2021

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has made it easier for the public to give feedback on the care they receive in hospital or in the community, by inviting patients and their families to share their experiences using a mobile phone or iPad.

The Trust has developed new ways to provide virtual feedback, which can be easily accessed by scanning a QR code through an app or mobile phone camera. Those without a phone can now also give their views while they are in hospital by using a new app on Trust iPads.

As part of its ongoing focus on patient improvement, the Trust gathers feedback from patients and their families / carers in a wide number of ways, including using the Friends and Family Test - a quick and anonymous way for people to provide feedback on NHS services. 

The short paper survey was launched by the NHS in 2013 and is given out to anyone accessing Trust services. Due to COVID-19, paper copies of the survey were stopped as part of the Trusts robust infection, prevention and control measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Trust relies on this important feedback to help it to continually improve patient experience. As well as moving the Friends and Family Test on to its website, patients will now be able to give quick and easy feedback using the mobile app or by scanning a QR code.  

Melanie Johnson, Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want everyone who uses our services to have the best possible experience of care and the feedback we receive from patients is a vital way for us to understand what we are doing well, but also where we need to make improvements. We gather feedback from patients in lots of different ways, but the Friends and Family Test is a simple and effective measure of how a patient feels about their experience of care and is a recognised survey that is used across the NHS. 

“I’m delighted to announce that from 1st July patients can also complete the survey by scanning a QR code that will be visible on postcards and posters in the place they are receiving treatment. For those patients being treated on wards in our hospitals who do not have access to a mobile, we have iPads with an app that can be used to complete the survey. 

“Our teams are always focussed on providing the very highest standards of care to all of our patients and COVID-19 has meant that we have had to change the way we do things in many respects. The pandemic has brought a lot of challenges and pressures to NHS services, but we cannot lose sight of our need to continuously learn and innovate. That’s why I would urge anyone who has received care in our hospitals or accessed our services in the community to take a few minutes to complete the short questionnaire. Your feedback really will influence how we do things going forward and there is no better way to understand how to improve patient experience than by listening to our patients directly.”

Anyone who has used hospital or community services provided by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust can complete an on-line Friends and Family Test. The survey can be found on the Trust website at  The public can also look out for posters and postcards in the two main hospital sites and community venues that will display a QR code. The camera function or QR reader apps on any smartphone will take patients directly to the survey which can be completed on the phone.

The public are reminded that in addition to this survey they can leave feedback via a special section on the Trust website. The Trust also has a dedicated Advice and Complaints Service which can be contacted by emailing telephoning 0191 569 9855 or Freephone 08005876513. There are also national surveys conducted by the Care Quality Commission where the public can give their views on their experience of their NHS care.