Health and Care Experience Survey 2021/22: National Results

The Health and Care Experience Survey asks about people’s experiences of

accessing and using their GP practice and Out of Hours services;

aspects of care and support provided by local authorities and other organisations; and caring responsibilities and related support.

This document is part of a collection

2. About the Survey

The Scottish Health and Care Experience Survey is a postal survey which was sent to a random sample of people who were registered with a GP in Scotland on the 6th October 2021. The survey has been run every two years since 2009 and forms part of the Scottish Care Experience Survey Programme, which is a suite of national surveys aiming to provide local and national information on the quality of health and care services from the perspective of those using them.

Questionnaires were sent out in November 2021 asking about people's experiences during the previous 12 months.

The focus of this report is on the national results of the survey. Respondents were able to provide free-text comments at the end of each section of the questionnaire. Free-text comments have been added in speech bubbles to the report to provide contextual information. Comments selected for inclusion are those where there is no risk of identifying the respondents and the comment typical of other comments on the topic. A copy of the questionnaire can be found as a supporting file to the Technical Report.

Throughout this report, with the exception of the data in Annex B, 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.

Results for each GP practice, GP Cluster, Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Board, as well as time series trends where applicable, are available via an online dashboard hosted by Public Health Scotland.


The survey's specific aims were to:

National results

  • inform national planning and monitoring performance;
  • monitor the NHS Scotland Local Delivery Plan standards[1] on accessing GP services;
  • inform nine out of the 23 health and wellbeing outcomes indicators under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014.

For local improvement

  • provide GP practices with structured feedback on people's experiences of their service relative to other practices in Scotland;
  • provide NHS Boards, Health & Social Care Partnerships and GP Clusters with information about people's experiences in their respective areas and between local areas.


The Care Experience Programme supports three strategic objectives for both the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland – that care be safe, effective and person centred. It does this by providing a basis for the measurement of quality as experienced by people across Scotland.

In addition, the programme supports the Chief Medical Officer's vision that, by 2025, we will support the Health and Social Care workforce to practice Realistic Medicine, thereby enabling the delivery of high quality and personalised care to the people of Scotland.

Fieldwork for the 2021/22 survey was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, there were a number of important changes to how services are provided that should be taken into account when making comparisons with previous surveys:

  • Guidance was issued to GP practices not to treat patients face to face unless clinically necessary.
  • Social distancing was introduced in practices.
  • While there were more remote consultations, electronic booking systems were used less as existing systems couldn't screen for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • There was a requirement to wear face masks when attending GP practices. There is a general exemption to the legal requirement to wear face masks if you are seeking medical treatment, but masks were generally preferred.
  • Practices were advised that they did not have to register patients if they already have a GP locally. This was to prevent patients swamping neighbouring practices if their own was temporarily afflicted by COVID-19 absences.
  • Early in the pandemic, local carer organisations transitioned to remote working.
  • There were changes to a range of social care services. Building based respite and day services were paused earlier on in the pandemic.



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