Patients at NHS hospitals are to be asked whether they would want their loved ones treated on the same ward if they became sick.

Responses to the "friends and family test" will be published and made comparable across the NHS from April 2013, helping patients to choose where they want to be treated. Ministers hope the information will reduce uncaring behaviour by doctors and nurses. They are said to have been shocked by staff surveys revealing that in some NHS trusts only half the staff said they would recommend their own hospital.

The test was recommended by the Nursing Care and Quality Forum, set up by the Prime Minister in January. David Cameron said: "In every hospital, patients will be able to [indicate] whether they'd want a friend or relative to be treated there in their hour of need. By making those answers public we'll give everyone a clear idea of where to get the best care – and drive other hospitals to raise their game."

The move reflects the Coalition's determination to focus the NHS on basic care after years in which it has concentrated on cutting waiting times and meeting financial targets.