Health and care experience survey 2017 to 2018: national results

Results from survey asking about people’s experiences of GP practices and other local healthcare services.

1. Executive Summary

Over 130,000 individuals registered with a GP practice in Scotland responded to the 2017/18 Health and Care Experience Survey. 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. The main results from the 2017/18 survey are:

The GP Practice

  • 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.
  • Eighty seven per cent of people found it easy to contact their GP practice in the way that they want to and around three quarters were happy with their GP practice opening hours.
  • Sixty seven per cent of people rated the arrangements for getting to see a doctor positively and 70 per cent of people rated the arrangements for getting to see another medical professional positively.
  • 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.

Recent Treatment or Advice from the GP Practice

  • The vast majority of people who had contacted their GP practice in the last 12 months had also received treatment or advice. Around three quarters of people had most of their treatment or advice provided by a doctor.
  • People were generally positive about their experience of person-centred behaviours. They were most positive about understanding information they were given and feeling listened to.
  • People were more likely to report that their symptoms had got better than their overall wellbeing.


  • Just over two fifths of people were referred to another NHS health professional in the last 12 months, with the vast majority of those being referred by their GP practice.
  • People were referred to a very wide range of health professionals. Of the health professionals described, physiotherapist was the most common.
  • Seventy eight per cent of people rated the coordination of their treatment / care positively.
  • Four in five 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. The most common service people ended up receiving treatment or advice from was pharmacists / chemists.
  • People were most positive about experiences of person-centred behaviours around understanding the information they were given and being listened to. People were least positive about having the opportunity to involve the people that mattered to them.
  • Most people (83 per cent) rated the overall care they had experienced from the service they ended up receiving treatment or advice from positively.

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. Eighty two per cent reported that people took account of the things that matter to them, although this has decreased from 88 per cent in 2013/14.
  • 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.
  • There has been a continued decrease in the percentage of people who said that they had a say in how their help, care or support was provided, from 83 per cent in 2013/14 to 76 per cent in 2017/18.

Experiences of Carers

  • The survey indicated that 16 per cent of people look after or provide regular help or support to others.
  • Forty per cent of carers said they looked after a parent, with 27 per cent saying that they cared for a partner or spouse.
  • 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.
  • Carers 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.


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