Inpatient Experience Survey – 2016

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

A survey of over 17,000 people has found that the majority of hospital patients report a positive experience of their care, in particular with their experiences with hospital staff. However, an overarching finding was that respondants were slightly less positive about their experience of leaving hospital and the care and support services organised after leaving than in the previous survey.

Results of the 2016 Inpatient Experience Survey were released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The survey asked respondents about their experiences of: admission to hospital; the hospital ward environment; care and treatment including errors, operations, hospital staff, arrangements for leaving hospital, and care and support services after leaving hospital.

Improvement in experiences of care and treatment in A&E

People were more positive about the overall care and treatment they received in A&E than the previous survey. However, 23 per cent of people felt they were not kept informed about the length of time to be seen by nursing or medical staff .

People gave a similar positive rating to the previous survey for the overall admission to hospital experience.

People rate the hospital and ward environment more positively

There was significant improvement in peoples’ rating of the overall ward and hospital environment, with improvements also being seen for ward cleanliness. Nevertheless, a sizeable proportion of people still were not aware which nurse was in charge of the ward, found the food and drink unacceptable or who found noise at night to be problematic.

Encouraging results for staff

As seen in the previous survey, staff received the highest overall rating of all survey sections with:

  • confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses treating them (92 per cent and 91 per cent positive respectively) and whether doctors and nurses washed their hands at appropriate times (91 per cent and 93 per cent positive respectively) receiving the most positive ratings for questions relating to staff.
  • similar results seen to the previous survey regarding help from staff with various tasks: washing and dressing; going to the bathroom/toilet; and eating and drinking.

Although people were typically more positive about the staff that they did encounter:

  • around one in ten respondents (nine per cent) felt that there were ‘rarely or never ‘ enough nurses to treat them
  • over a quarter (27 per cent) did not know which nurse was in charge of their care

Leaving hospital the lowest ranked section

As in previous surveys, peoples’ departure from hospital continues to be viewed less positively than other aspects of their inpatient experience, 78 per cent rated this positively.

Delays appear to be a problem for patients leaving hospital:

  • two in five people (40 per cent) felt that they were delayed on the day that they left hospital with 47 per cent of them experiencing delays of up to two hours
  • delay in getting medication accounted for 56 per cent of delays

Wait for care and support services after leaving hospital

In general, people were less positive than the previous surveys regarding care and support services:

  • one in six (17 per cent) indicated that they stayed in hospital longer than expected to wait for the care and support to be organised
  • however around nine in ten patients (88 per cent) felt that the care and support services they received after leaving hospital were right for them

Patient safety

The survey found that:

  • one in five people (20 per cent) felt that they had experienced harm or injury relating to their inpatient care such as infections, bed sores, reactions to medications, or falls
  • eight per cent of patients felt that they had experienced a clinical error during their stay in hospital, the most common being ‘delayed or incorrect test results’
  • one in 12 patients felt that either: their drip was not checked regularly enough; their drip was not changed when required; or their drip was not removed quickly enough
  • over a third of instances (35 per cent), patients reported that staff did not discuss clinical errors with them
  • 41 per cent of cases patients were not happy with how clinical errors were dealt with

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at:

This publication contains results from the 2016 Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey. Questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected sample of patients aged 16 years or over who had an overnight stay in hospital between April and September 2015. Selected answers to the survey inform the national indicator: Healthcare Experience on Scotland Performs, the Scottish Government National Performance Framework.

The survey was commissioned by the Scottish Government, in partnership with ISD Scotland, on behalf of Health Boards as part of the Scottish Care Experience programme. The survey administration and local reporting was undertaken by Quality Health Ltd.

National statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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