2 Introduction and Background
2.1 The Scottish Health and Care Experience is a postal survey which was sent to a random sample of patients who were registered with a GP in Scotland in October 2015. The survey repeats the 2013/14 Health and Care Experience Survey and uses a very similar questionnaire.
2.2 The survey asked people about their experiences of access and using GP practice and out-of-hours services, and their outcomes from NHS treatments. It also asked about other aspects of care and support provided by local authorities and other organisations, to support the principles underpinning the integration of health and care in Scotland outlined in The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014  . There are also some questions aimed specifically at carers about their experiences of caring and support.
2.3 The focus of this report is on the national results of the survey. Individual reports for each GP Practice, Health and Social Care Partnership/ Local Authority and NHS Board are available at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/GPPatientExperienceSurvey/HACE2015-16
NHS Health Board and Local Authority results have also been made available on www.statistics.gov.scot.
2.4 Within the national report, comparisons have been made with the previous survey(s) where this is possible.
Scottish Care Experience Survey Programme
2.5 The Health and Care Experience survey is one of a suite of national surveys which are part of the Scottish Care Experience Survey Programme. The surveys aim to provide local and national information on the quality of health and care services from the perspective of those using them. They allow local health and care providers to compare with other areas of Scotland and to track progress in improving the experiences of people using their services.
2.6 Information about the other national care experience surveys is available at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/careexperience
2.7 The survey programme supports the three quality ambitions of the 2020 Vision  - Safe, Effective, Person-centred - by providing a basis for the measurement of quality as experienced by service users across Scotland. In particular the surveys support the person-centred quality ambition which is focused on putting people at the centre of care, ensuring that care is responsive to individual personal preferences, needs and values and assuring that individual values guide all care decisions. More information about the context for this survey is provided in Chapter 4 of this report.
Aims of the survey
2.8 The survey's specific objectives were:
For local improvement
- provide GP practices with structured feedback on their patients' experience of their service, relative to other practices in Scotland and to previous results;
- provide NHS Boards, Health & Social Care Partnerships and Local Authorities with information about people's experiences in their respective areas and on variation within and between local areas;
- For informing national planning and monitoring performance. More information about this context is provided in Chapter 4 of this report;
- identify variation within and between local areas and if and how the level of positive and negative experiences have changed over time;
- highlight areas of best practice and areas for improvement;
- monitor the NHSScotland LDP standards  on accessing GP services;
- inform around half of the health and wellbeing outcomes indicators under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014;
- assess the types of outcomes patients had from any NHS treatment to inform the quality outcome indicator on patient reported outcomes.
2.9 The survey was designed to provide results for individual GP practices as well as providing information for use by NHS Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships.
2.10 People eligible to be sampled for the survey were those who were registered to a Scottish GP practice at 20 October 2015 and were aged 17 or over at that date. A total of 711,159 questionnaires were sent out and 111,611 were returned giving a response rate of 16 per cent. This response may seem low compared to other, similar, surveys. This is largely because most surveys of this type include reminder letters, but this sample was designed to achieve the required number of responses for each GP practice without sending any reminders.
2.11 Throughout this report, with the exception of the data in Chapter 3, analysis is presented as weighted average percentages. Weighting the results in this way provides results which are more representative of the population of Scotland as a whole.
2.12 All changes over time that are discussed in the report are statistically significant at the five per cent level. Due to the large sample size, even small changes of one per cent in the national results are statistically significant. For tables showing changes in results at a more local level, statistically significant differences are highlighted in bold.
2.13 More information about the survey design, response rates and methodology can be found in the technical report available at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/GPPatientExperienceSurvey/HACE2015-16