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Monkey Imag Edited

Child patients are using “smiley faces” to rate the performance of doctors and nurses treating them at one of London’s biggest hospitals.

An expansion of the NHS friends and family test has been launched at the Royal London, in Whitechapel, to include the views of young people treated on paediatric wards.

All children treated in the NHS will be asked to rate their care – saying whether they would recommend it for their friends and family – from next April.

The Picker Institute Europe charity is collaborating with Barts Health, which runs the Royal London, to adapt the test to be more meaningful to children. It found they were more likely to understand the phrase “if they needed similar treatment or care to me” than the adult test question of “Would you recommend the hospital?”.

Similarly, children struggled to say whether they were “likely” or “unlikely” to recommend a hospital and preferred to provide feedback using an “agree/disagree” scale, accompanied by a cartoon monkey with colour-coded happy or unhappy faces.

The project, also being trialled at Southampton Children’s Hospital, is expected to be rolled out across the NHS.

Amy Tallett, of Picker Institute Europe, said: “This work has been key to ensuring that children are asked about their hospital experiences using a question that they fully understand.”

Sally Shearer, director of child nursing at Barts Health, said: “The experts in shaping accessible and appropriate services for children and young people are the children and young people themselves.”