2.1 The Better Together Scottish Patient Experience Inpatient Survey is a postal survey, first conducted in early 2010, with the aim of establishing the experience of a sample of people aged 16 years and over who had a recent overnight hospital stay. The survey covers six specific areas of inpatient experience: admission to hospital; the hospital and ward; care and treatment; hospital staff; arrangements for leaving hospital; and care and support services after leaving hospital. A copy of the questionnaire can be found in Annex A.
2.2 This report presents the detailed national findings of the third Better Together Inpatient Patient Experience Survey. Key findings are presented at national level as well as by NHS Board.
2.3 Details of the survey design, fieldwork and analysis are available in the Scottish Inpatient Patient Experience Technical Report (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/inpatientsurveytechnicalreport).
Better Together: Scottish Patient Experience Programme
2.4 Better Together is Scotland's Patient Experience Programme, which supports NHS Scotland in developing ways to use patients' experiences to inform service design and planning across health service to drive improvement.
2.5 The Better Together programme supports the Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland (or Quality Strategy) by providing a basis for the measurement of quality as experienced by service users across Scotland, in addition to support for local improvement.
2.6 The ultimate aim of the Quality Strategy is to deliver the highest quality health and care services to people in Scotland, and through this to ensure that NHSScotland is recognised by the people of Scotland as amongst the best in the world. Through the Better Together programme, people in Scotland are being given the opportunity to comment systematically on their experience of healthcare and its impact on their quality of life. The Scottish Inpatient Patient Experience Survey is one example of this work. The Scottish GP / local NHS services survey also allows patients to comment on community services. Further information on the GP / local NHS services survey can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/GPPatientExperienceSurvey.
2.7 Further information about the Quality Strategy can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/NHS-Scotland/NHSQuality.
2.9 Further information about the Better Together programme can be found at: http://www.bettertogetherscotland.com.
Aims of the Better Together Inpatient Survey
2.10 The survey's specific aims are to:
- Gain a fuller understanding of the experiences of adult patients receiving inpatient services at NHS hospitals in Scotland;
- Provide NHS Boards and NHS hospitals with feedback on the experiences of their patients, relative to previous surveys and other areas in Scotland;
- Provide comparable national data on the quality of the patient experience across NHSScotland;
- Provide information for the national performance framework indicator 'Improve the quality of the healthcare experience in Scotland';
- Explore the variations in the experiences of different groups of patients.
2.11 Minor changes were made to the questionnaire and survey materials following the 2011 survey. The main change was the inclusion of questions asking about the care and support services that patients needed to be arranged before they could leave hospital. Details of the changes made to the survey materials are contained in Chapter 3 of the technical report.
Survey fieldwork and response
2.12 The patient sample was designed to provide results for 68 individual hospitals as well as for the 14 NHS Boards, and the National Waiting Time Centre (NWTC) and nationally for Scotland. The survey was sent to a sample of adult inpatients (aged 16 years old or above on discharge) who had an NHS inpatient hospital stay (at least one overnight stay) between October 2010 and September 2011.
2.13 Fieldwork was undertaken by locally procured approved contractors3 on behalf of NHS Boards beginning on 26 January 2012 on a rolling basis. NHS Boards started the survey at different times; the last NHS Board distributed their surveys on 27 February 2012 and the survey closed at the end of April 2012. In total, 55,231 survey packs were sent to patients and 28,709 were returned, giving an overall response rate of 52%.
2.14 Of those patients who provided information about themselves: 6 per cent were aged 16-34, 13 per cent were aged 35-49, 27 per cent were aged 50-64, 24 per cent were 65-74 and 30 per cent were 75 and over; 42 per cent were male and 58 per cent were female.
2.15 In addition, 38 per cent did not have any limiting illness or disability. Also, 98 per cent indicated that they were heterosexual / straight, whilst 2 per cent indicated that they were gay / lesbian, bisexual or other.
2.16 Patients were also asked to self-report their general health as good, fair or poor: 45 per cent rated their health as good, 41 per cent as fair and 14 per cent as poor.
Data analysis and interpretation
2.17 The survey data was collected by the contractors. Anonymised data was then securely transferred to Information Services Division (ISD) who carried out the analysis.
2.18 Prior to data analysis, hospitals which were identified as private using the Scottish Health Service Costs Book were excluded for the purposes of reporting national NHS results for Scotland. A total of 125 cases from private hospital were excluded from national NHS results.
2.19 In general, results are presented as the percentage of patients reporting a positive experience. The percentages are calculated excluding any patients from the denominator who did not answer the question or answered "not relevant" or "don't know". Annex B shows which answers have been classed as positive for each question.
2.20 Throughout the report, weighted percentages have been presented unless otherwise stated. Weights were applied to all cases within the data file based on the number of eligible inpatients at each hospital. This means that the contribution of each hospital to the NHS Board and Scotland results is proportional to the number of patients that were eligible for the survey. Further information on how weights were calculated and applied can be found in Chapter 8 of the technical report.
2.21 Differences from last year's results are only highlighted and discussed if they are statistically significant. Results in tables are marked with if they are significantly better than last year and if they are significantly worse. Further information on this is available in Chapter 8 of the technical report.
2.22 These statistics have been independently assessed by the UK Statistics Authority and are designated as National Statistics. The assessment report is available at: http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/assessment/assessment-reports/assessment-report-131---statistics-on-scottish-patient-experience.pdf.
Results for NHS Boards and hospitals
2.23 NHS Boards and hospital reports have been published separately at: http://www.patientexperience-bettertogether.scot.nhs.uk/index.html
Email: Gregor Boyd