Patients will be able to rate the treatment they receive in hospitals to ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect on wards, it will be announced today.
The simple “friends and family test” will ask whether patients would recommend their hospital to loved ones. The results will be published and hospital leaders who fail the test will be held to account.
Later today David Cameron will announce that the test will be rolled out across wards in England from April 2013.
The prime minister said the data will give patients a clear idea of where to get the best care.
The Nursing and Care Quality Forum, which was announced in January to address concerns about the way some patients are treated, wrote to Mr Cameron recommending the simple test.
The letter said: “It is critical that the NHS takes far greater notice of what people think about the quality of care they receive.
“An important way of doing this is asking people whether they would recommend the organisation where they have received care, should a loved one require treatment.
“We need to go further and faster with the friends and family test. We would like to see immediate roll out across the NHS with a view to developing a national measure as soon as practicable.”
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) welcomed the new test.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “We endorse the friends and family test of NHS services which is an important measure of how people perceive the care they are provided by their organisation.
“We look forward to contributing to this work as it develops and there must be a focus on acting on these results to ensure that continuous improvements are made.
“Giving nurses the time and resources to care - for example freeing them up to guarantee that they spend dedicated time with their patients and get the right administrative support - is crucial in ensuring confidence in care providers.”
The Forum also recommended that nurses are recruited for their caring nature and compassion as well as their knowledge and skills.
Dr Carter added: “We are pleased to have been part of this important Forum which recognises that the vast majority of nurses provide excellent care.
“We welcome the recommendations which will build on this and improve the ability of nurses, by giving them the right resources and skills, to provide dignified and compassionate care across the board.”