2015 Scottish Maternity Care Survey Technical Report

This report provides information on the technical aspects of the 2015 Maternity Care Survey, including development, implementation, analysis and reporting.

This document is part of a collection

5 Fieldwork

5.1 The Scottish Government contracted Quality Health Ltd to administer the survey. Quality Health Ltd has in-depth experience of NHS surveys, and has provided support for other patient experience survey work both in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.


5.2 The initial mail out was sent on Wednesday 27 May 2015 to 5,025 women, followed by two reminders, at three weeks intervals, to those who did not initially respond in order to boost the response rate.

Data collection

5.3 Data was collected in the form of hardcopy returns and online returns. For more information on the format of returns refer to section 7.3 of this report.

5.4 During the fieldwork a freephone helpline answered queries from patients surveyed. In total, 14 telephone enquiry calls were answered by the telephone helpline. In proportion of the number of surveys sent out (0.3%) this is very similar to the numbers from the last survey. This low level of enquiries could be attributed to a good supporting documentation and instructions being sent with the questionnaire. Another possible explanation could be that patient experience surveys are now fairly common and people may simply be more familiar with completing them.

Deceased patients

5.5 The women included in the 2015 survey were sampled based on the Births Registrations Records for babies born in February and March 2015. The questionnaire printing and mail-out process extended from late May 2015 through to the last mailing date of 8 July 2015. This meant that some women or babies may have died between the sample and mail out dates.

5.6 To minimise the risk of questionnaires being sent to deceased women, or women whose baby would have died, a list of women included in the survey was sent to the NHS CR along with the birth registrations of their baby or babies. Both women and babies details were linked to the National Records of Scotland (NRS) database of registered deaths and Quality Health Ltd were notified of any individuals who should be removed from the mail-out. This check happened on the morning of each mail-out to ensure that the most up to date information was used. Having access to daily death information greatly reduced possibility of questionnaires being sent to addresses of deceased women or babies. We are grateful to NHS CR for their help and support during this stage of the project.

5.7 One record included in the sample were flagged as deceased by NHS CR prior to the first reminder and another one prior to the second reminder. Details of these individuals were flagged to Quality Health Ltd and removed from the mail-out process prior to dispatch. There were no reports of any questionnaires being sent to mothers who had died, or whose baby had died.

5.8 Any death which occurs in Scotland must be registered within eight days of the date of death. This means that there can be a delay between the actual date of death and the date that it is registered and updated on the CHI and NRS databases.


Email: Emma Milburn

Back to top