Health and Care Experience Survey – 2017/18

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

A survey of over 130,000 people has found that the majority of GP patients and social care users report a positive experience of their care. However, an overarching finding was that respondents were slightly less positive than in previous surveys, in particular about accessing GP services and support for carers.

Results of the 2017/18 Health and Care Experience Survey were released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. These figures were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

GP Practice Access and Care

Eighty three per cent of people rated the overall care provided by their GP practice positively, this was down two percentage points from the last survey and seven percentage points compared to the first Health and Care Experience survey in 2009/10.

Ninety three per cent of people were able to obtain two working day access to their GP practice; this is a slight increase from the previous survey.  Around two thirds of people were allowed to book an appointment at their GP practice three or more working days in advance – a significant decrease from the previous survey.

Eighty seven per cent of people found it easy to contact their GP practice in the way that they want to, although only 67 per cent of people rated the arrangements for getting to see a doctor positively.

When receiving treatment or advice at a GP practice, people were most positive about understanding the information they were given (95 per cent) and that they were listened to (93 per cent).


The survey asked people about referrals to other NHS health professionals. Respondents  described experiences with a wide range of different health professionals.  Seventy eight per cent of people rated the coordination of their treatment / care positively and just over four fifths of people were positive about the care they experienced from the service they were last referred to.

Out of Hours Care

In the last year, 45 per cent of people got advice or treatment from an Out of Hours (OOH) service. Most people (83 per cent) were positive about the overall care they had experienced from the service they ended up receiving treatment or advice from. People were most positive about understanding the information they were given and feeling that they were listened to (rated positively by 93 and 92 per cent of people respectively). This is consistent with the most positive aspects of care at the GP practice.

Care, Support and Help with Everyday Living

Of those who received formal help and support, 80 per cent rated the overall help, care or support services as either excellent or good. This is slightly lower than the results from the 2015/16 survey and a decrease from 83 per cent in 2013/14.

As in previous surveys, users of care services were generally positive about some of the person-centred aspects of the care that they received. For example, 87 per cent said that they were treated with compassion and understanding.

Users of care services were least positive about being aware of the help, care and support options available (73 per cent were positive) and the co-ordination of services (74 per cent). These results are similar to those from the previous survey.

Experiences of Carers

The survey indicated that 16 per cent of people look after or provide regular help or support to others. Overall, when asked about specific aspects of caring, people were less positive than they were in previous years.

Carers were most positive about having a good balance between caring and other activities, with around two thirds agreeing that they did. They were least positive about support to continue caring.  Overall, 37 per cent of carers said that they felt supported to continue caring which is a decrease of six percentage points from 2013/14.


The full statistical publication is available at


This publication contains results from the 2017/18 Health and Care Experience Survey. Questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected sample of people who were registered with a GP in Scotland in October 2017. The survey asked about people’s experiences of accessing and using their GP practice and other local healthcare services; receiving care, support and help with everyday living; and caring responsibilities.

More information about the survey design is available in the accompanying technical report, which is available at

The survey was commissioned by the Scottish Government, in partnership with ISD Scotland, as part of the Scottish Care Experience programme. The survey fieldwork administration was undertaken by Quality Health Ltd. Individual reports for each GP practice, GP Cluster, Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Board will be made available via an online dashboard. A link to this will be available at

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards  – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:

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