Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey 2016 Volume 2: Technical Report

Report detailing survey design of the Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey 2016.

This document is part of a collection

Survey Response

Response rate for the survey

The response rate for the survey is the number of completed forms returned as a percentage of the number of people in the sample. In total, 43,901 surveys were sent to people and 17,767 were returned completed, giving an overall response rate of 40 per cent.

Response analysis

The number of responses analysed for each question is lower than the total number of responses received. This is because not all of the questionnaires returned could be included in the calculation of results for every individual question. This was mainly for the following reasons:

  • the specific question did not apply to the respondent and so they did not answer it. For example if they were not admitted to the A&E department the respondent therefore did not answer questions about their experience at A&E
  • the respondent did not answer the question for another reason (e.g. refused). People were advised that if they did not want to answer a specific question they should leave it blank
  • the respondent answered that they did not know or could not remember the answer to a particular question (these responses are typically excluded from results calculations)
  • the respondent gave an invalid response to the question, for example they ticked more than one box where only one answer could be accepted

The number of responses analysed also varied between NHS Board and site reporting due to suppressions and exclusions that were applied at the different levels of analysis.

Response rates

The highest response rate for an NHS Board was the Golden Jubilee Foundation ( 69 per cent) and the lowest response rate was for Greater Glasgow and Clyde ( 36 per cent) (Table 5).

Table 5: Response rate by NHS Board

NHS Board Total forms sent out Number of Responses Response Rate Expected Response Rate
Ayrshire and Arran 5,030 1,898 38% 46%
Borders 702 334 48% 53%
Dumfries and Galloway 1,851 796 43% 52%
Fife 1,366 495 36% 45%
Forth Valley 1,045 377 36% 45%
Golden Jubilee Foundation 845 584 69% 75%
Grampian 5,495 2,518 46% 50%
Greater Glasgow and Clyde 12,943 4,657 36% 46%
Highland 3,680 1,582 43% 51%
Lanarkshire 2,566 925 36% 42%
Lothian 5,179 2,202 43% 48%
Orkney 290 160 55% 49%
Shetland 306 130 42% 46%
Tayside 2,212 944 43% 49%
Western Isles 391 165 42% 52%
Total 43,901 17,767 40% 48%

Method of response

Of the 17,767 respondents, the majority of surveys were completed and returned in the post (Table 6).

Table 6: Response rate per method of response

Completion method Number of Questionnaires completed Completed (%)
Post 16,367 92
Online 1,367 8
Telephone 32 0
Language line 1 0

Non response


A total of 611 ( one per cent) questionnaires were returned to the contractors as undelivered. It is possible that a number of people have moved address during the period after leaving hospital and the survey being distributed.

Returned blank

A total of 1,778 ( four per cent) questionnaires were returned blank. This was explained to respondents as being a way for them to opt out of the survey. Some of these questionnaires were returned blank due to the respondent being too ill to complete it.


Email: Nicola Kerr,

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