The response rate shows the number of staff issued with the questionnaire (Recipients) and the number of staff who responded (Respondents) as an overall percentage.
In total 199,772 questionnaires were issued, and 110,250 usable responses were received. This equates to an overall response rate of 55%.
Comparing 2022 Response Rate to Previous Years
|Year||Response Rate||Movement from previous iMatter survey (Percentage points)|
The 2022 response rate is 1 pp below the 2021 level.
Whilst the response rate of 55% still offers a robust, representative indication of staff experience across the workforce, it is of some concern that the level continues to be lower than the pre-Pandemic response rates of 62% in 2019 and 59% in 2018. It is possible that in 2017-2019, the response rate threshold of 60%, may have generated an additional ‘push’ to increase the number of staff taking part, in order that reports would be issued.
Anecdotal feedback suggests that the timing of iMatter 2022 (3 months earlier than in 2021) may have had some impact on participation.
There was no marked change in our approach to promoting the iMatter 2022 survey in comparison the previous year to explain for the drop in our response rate. Regular staff communication was sent throughout the iMatter cycle via weekly Chief Executive updates and announcements on the SAS intranet, with the Directors and regional managers encouraging the completion of the questionnaire at the local level.
Most likely, the sustained high demands within the service and the fact that the iMatter 2022 survey has been launched approximately 3 months earlier than in 2021, would also be contributing factors to the lower response rate.
Scottish Ambulance Service
Looking to the future, many of the Team Stories focus on the importance of staff feedback. For example, NHS Ayrshire & Arran Nurse Directorate note the importance of staff feedback.
“Most importantly we want to create the culture within our directorate where staff feedback is valued, and where we can create the conditions for our teams to thrive. We want all staff to join the conversation, to get involved with work that is going on across our Directorate, the wider organisation and beyond. iMatter has been and will continue to be a key part in this”
Emphasising the importance of staff feedback and demonstrating how that feedback is heard and acted on are key to increasing future response rates. The NHS Dumfries & Galloway Portering Team Acute Directorate Team story clearly maps staff feedback to direct actions:
“The Team asked for better training and development, so we have introduced a more structured training programme to bring the skills and attributes of the Team more in line with what we would expect it to be within the role. Key areas highlighted by the team were use of fire fighting equipment and mental health trauma, both are new areas of training not offered before.”
“The Team would like more of a voice within the department that can deal with their concerns and suggestions that are more relevant to them, so they now have a Team liaison representative who they can raise issues with and give feedback at the Support Services Liaison Group Meeting.”
Board Response Rates
Response rates across individual Boards range from 91% for Healthcare Improvement Scotland to 47% for NHS Highland.
Several Boards have achieved increases in their response rates from 2021. The largest increases are for the following Boards:
- NHS 24 response rate up 8 pps from 2021 to 65%. This is the same response rate achieved in 2019
- NHS Dumfries and Galloway response rate increased from 55% in 2021 to 60% in 2022
- NHS Western Isles response rate of 62% is 4 pps up on 2021. It is the highest iMatter response rate the Board has achieved
Several Boards have seen big declines in their responses rates this year. The largest drops are in the following Boards:
- Public Health Scotland, a new Board in 2021 has seen decline in response rate of 11 pps from 86% in its first year of operation to 75% this year
- Scottish Ambulance Service response rate down 8 pps from 60% in 2021 to 52% in 2022. This is the lowest response rate the Board has had since iMatter began in 2017
- NHS Orkney 2022 response rate of 58% is down 7 pps on last year and considerably below the 83% achieved in 2018
- NHS Golden Jubilee down 6 pps from 67% in 2021 to 61% in 2022
- NHS Shetland response rate is down 5 pps from 60% in 2021 to 55% in 2022
NHS Highland’s 2022 response rate of 47% is 4 pps lower than in 2021. It is the first time that an individual Board response rate has dropped below half of staff since iMatter started in 2017.
|Board||2017||2018||2019||2021||2022||Response Rate Movement 2022-2021 (pp)|
|Health and Social Care||63%||59%||62%||56%||55%||-1|
|National Boards (Patient-facing)|
|NHS Golden Jubilee||68%||63%||67%||67%||61%||-6|
|Scottish Ambulance Service||64%||64%||59%||60%||52%||-8|
|The State Hospital||78%||77%||79%||69%||72%||+3|
|National Boards (Support)|
|Healthcare Improvement Scotland||80%||86%||90%||91%||91%||0|
|National Services Scotland||76%||77%||82%||74%||75%||+1|
|NHS Education for Scotland||81%||84%||87%||92%||88%||-4|
|Public Health Scotland||86%||75%||-11|
|Geographic Boards (Patient-facing)|
|NHS Ayrshire & Arran||64%||59%||60%||53%||53%||0|
|NHS Dumfries & Galloway||63%||59%||66%||55%||60%||+5|
|NHS Forth Valley||65%||62%||68%||54%||56%||+2|
|NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde||58%||54%||59%||51%||52%||+1|
|NHS Western Isles||52%||52%||56%||58%||62%||+4|
Method Effect on Response Rates
In order to ensure all staff have the opportunity to take part in iMatter, paper questionnaires are distributed to those without access to the online survey. The survey is also made available via SMS.
All Boards sent email invitations. 16 Boards sent SMS invitations and 17 used paper surveys. 4 Boards only sent emails. They were Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS 24, NHS Education for Scotland and Public Health Scotland.
In 2022 89% of surveys were issued online, 8% were on paper and 4% via SMS. The proportion of paper surveys issued has continued to drop from 10% in 2020, 14% in 2019, 16% in 2018 and 18% in 2017. The share of the responses received is 95% online, 3% paper and 3% SMS.
|Health and Social Care 2022||Volume issued||% of Volume Issued||Usable Response Volume||% of Responses Received||Response Rate by Method|
The volume of SMS invitations sent has almost doubled from 3,676 in 2021 to 7,059 this year, but the response rate for this method is down from 49% to 42%.
Further details of response volume and response rates by method are contained in Appendix 7.
Response Rate Summary
The overall volume of responses has increased as the workforce has grown, though the response rate is down 1 percentage point from 2021. This continues a decline seen from pre-pandemic levels. There are a number of reasons why this may be happening:
- Pressure on staff workload may make it harder to find time to complete the survey
- The quicker turn-around from last year, with only 9 months since iMatter 2022 may mean actions from last year haven’t yet been implemented. This can lead to the perceived value in completing the survey reducing
- Survey fatigue can come if staff have been asked to complete multiple other surveys in recent months
- The removal of the 60% threshold for reporting, may have led to a lessening of the encouragement to complete the survey. When the threshold was in place a ‘final push’ was sometimes seen to get teams/Boards over the 60% response rate needed
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