The Friends and Family Test is the government's latest wheeze -ask people the same standardised questions about all of the various departments of the NHS and you'll be able to compare them and "choose" the best treatment for you and your loved ones - or not as the case often is. I've sneered at the waste of resources, sighed at the effort of having to impliment the stupid thing within my own tiny corner of the NHS, and then dilligently filled in questionnaires for every service with which I have had contact and enthusiastically googled for any results that have been published so far. Such is the life of the hypocritical cynic.
I did find it difficult to fill in the questionnaire for the mental health Trust. This wasn't as it might have been some years ago because of the conflict within myself over where exactly the problems we faced lay - with them or us - but because in order to start the thing you are supposed to have had recent contact with them, either as a "service user" or carer, and I haven't. My caring responsibilities have lessened as my loved one has grown up, and her contact with the local services terminated rather more abruptly than anyone would have wished when she moved away from home. I might need the service myself some time in the future, my children or grandchildren might move back to the area and need it, but for the forseeable future I have no friends or family who would be likely to go anywhere near them.
THIS IS A VERY LIBERATING FEELING
I can put my head over the parapet, get involved in pressure groups, ask awkward questions and NONE of it risks having unintended consequences on my loved ones' care. I'm free enough to take my shoes off outside Buckingham Palace and I'm free enough to be a pain in the neck to the Trust board - watch out!