Inpatient Experience Survey 2018

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

A survey of over 20,000 people has found that the majority of hospital patients report a positive experience of their care, in particular their experiences with hospital staff. Eighty-six per cent of people rated their full inpatient experience between 7 and 10 on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “very poor” and 10 is “very good”.  Thirty-six per cent said that their overall care was “10 out of 10”.

Results of the 2018 Inpatient 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.

Admission to Hospital

  • People were generally positive about their admission to hospital, with 83 per cent rating it as “excellent” or “good”.
  • They also rated most aspects of care and treatment they received in the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) positively. Eighty-nine per cent rated the overall care and treatment they received in A&E as “excellent” or “good”.
  • People were least positive about being kept informed about how long they would have to wait to be seen in A&E; 44 per cent said they were kept completely informed and a further 31 per cent said that they were kept informed “to some extent”.

The Hospital and Ward

  • Eighty-eight per cent of people rated the hospital and ward environment as “excellent” or “good”.
  • In line with previous surveys, when asked about particular aspects of the hospital and ward environment, responses were mixed. People tended to be most positive about cleanliness (96 per cent said that the main ward or room was clean), and least positive about noise (28 per cent were bothered by noise from other patients).
  • There has been a continued increase in the percentage of people who were positive about spending time with people who matter to them. Eighty-seven per cent completely agreed that they were able to spend enough time with people who matter, which is an increase of 8 percentage points from 2014.

Care and Treatment in Hospital

  • Nine out of ten people were positive about their overall care and treatment whilst in hospital.
  • People were least positive about receiving enough help with eating and drinking (78 per cent positive) which is a six percentage point decrease from 2016. On the other hand, 95 per cent of people agreed that they had enough privacy when being examined or treated, which is a slight increase on the 2016 survey.


  • Overall, people were very positive about their experiences of hospital staff, with a slight increase in the overall positive rating, to 91 per cent.
  • Seventy-eight per cent of people said that they were always treated with compassion and understanding during their hospital stay, which is an increase of four percentage points from 2016. Three per cent said that they were not.
  • When asked if staff worked well together in organising care, 72 per cent said “yes, definitely”. A further 22 per cent said “yes, to some extent”.

Operations and Procedures

  • In general, people were very positive about the way that staff communicated with them before and after an operation or procedure. People were most positive about the explanations they received beforehand relating to the risks and benefits; 86 per cent agreed that they were given an explanation they understood, which is four percentage points more than in 2014.
  • People were less positive that they had been told how they would feel after the operation or procedure, with 66 per cent agreeing completely that they had. However, the percentage of positive responses to this question has increased five percentage points since the 2014 survey.

Leaving Hospital

  • Seventy-eight per cent of people rated the overall arrangements for leaving hospital as “excellent” or “good”.
  • Thirty per cent of people said that they experienced a delay on the day that they left hospital, which is nine percentage points less than in 2016. The most common reason given for the delay was “waiting for medicines” and 36 per cent of those delayed waited between 2 and 4 hours.

Care and Support Services

  • Of the people who needed care or support services after leaving hospital, 82 per cent were positive about the care and support that they received.
  • Sixty-seven per cent of people completely agreed that they were confident that arrangements had been made before they left hospital. A further 21 per cent agreed “to some extent”.
    • Forty-five percent of people completely agreed that they had a choice in the care or support services arranged for them, with a further 24 per cent agreeing to some extent.

Giving Feedback

  • Thirty-two per cent of people said that they spoke to staff about the standard of their care and treatment, or the services provided. Of those who were dissatisfied with their care, treatment or services, 40 per cent were able to find out how to provide feedback or complain.


The full statistical publication is available at:

This publication contains results from the 2018 Inpatient Experience Survey. Questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected sample of people aged 16 or over who had an overnight stay in hospital between April and September 2017. The survey asked about people’s experiences of: admission to hospital; the hospital and ward environment; care and treatment; hospital staff; operations and procedures; arrangements for leaving hospital and care and support services after leaving hospital.

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. Results at Region, NHS Board and Hospital level are 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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