Inpatient Experience Survey 2018: national results

National results of the 2018 Inpatient Experience Survey. Comparisons have been made with the previous iterations of this survey where possible.

2. Introduction

The Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey is, primarily, a postal survey which was sent out in January 2018 to a random sample of people aged 16 or over who had an overnight stay in hospital between April and September 2017. The survey has been run six times since 2010.

The survey asked about people's experiences of:

  • Admission to Hospital;
  • The Hospital and Ward environment;
  • Care and Treatment;
  • Hospital Staff;
  • Operations and Procedures;
  • Arrangements for Leaving Hospital;
  • Care and Support Services after leaving the hospital.

The focus of this report is on the national results of the survey. Comparisons have been made with the previous iterations of this survey where this is possible.

In addition to this national report, there are local results for Regions, NHS Boards and hospitals available via an interactive dashboard at

Scottish Care Experience Survey Programme

The Inpatient 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.

Information about the other national care experience surveys is available at

The survey programme supports the three quality ambitions of the 2020 Vision [1] – 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 ensuring that care is responsive to people's individual preferences, needs and values.

The Inpatient Experience Survey was carried out in partnership with Information Services Division ( ISD Scotland, part of NHS National Services Scotland) whose role included sampling, producing analysis and undertaking local reporting. The administration of the survey fieldwork was undertaken by an approved survey contractor, Quality Health Ltd, who were commissioned via a tendering process.

Aims of the Survey

For local improvement

  • provide NHS hospitals with feedback on the experiences of their patients, relative to previous surveys and other areas in Scotland;
  • provide NHS Boards with information about people's experiences in their respective Board areas and about variation within and between NHS Boards.

National results

  • for informing national planning and monitoring performance;
  • 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.

Survey Methods

The survey was designed to provide results for:

  • 114 individual hospitals;
  • 14 Territorial NHS Boards;
  • Golden Jubilee Foundation;
  • And at Regional and Scotland level.

The survey was sent to a sample of people, aged 16 years old or above at the date of discharge, who had an NHS inpatient hospital stay (at least one overnight stay) between April and September 2017. A total of 51,440 survey packs were sent out and 20,809 were returned giving a response rate of 40 per cent.

Throughout this report, with the exception of the data in Chapter 3, analysis is presented as weighted average percentages. Weighting provides results which are more representative of the population of Scotland as a whole. A review of the weighting methodology was undertaken in advance of the 2018 survey, leading to some changes in the weights applied. Details of the review, the full methodology applied to the 2017/18 results and the impacts of the change are available at

Results from the 2014 and 2016 surveys have been backdated where appropriate to ensure comparability over time. The impact of these methodological changes has been a change of at most three percentage points in the results at a National level, but usually less. It was not possible to backdate the results from earlier surveys.

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 may be statistically significant. Percentages quoted within this report have been rounded to the nearest whole number. They may not, therefore, sum to 100 in the tables and charts shown.

More information about the survey design, response rates and methodology can be found in the Technical Report, available at



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