Scottish Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2012 Volume 2: Technical Report

This report provides technical information on the survey design, sampling, fieldwork and analysis for the Scottish Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2012.

This document is part of a collection

7 Survey response


7.1 This section of the report presents detail on response rates for the survey and summary analysis of non-responses. In addition, it provides an overview of survey routing errors and the level of double responses.

Response rate for the survey

7.2 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, 55,231 surveys were sent to patients and 28,709[6] were returned completed, giving an overall response rate of 52 per cent.

Respondent burden

7.3 The survey is short and should only take respondents 15 minutes to complete. The total burden as defined by (number of responses) * (time taken to respond) is 7,177 hours.

Response analysis

7.4 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). Patients 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; and
  • The respondent gave an invalid response to the question, for example they ticked more than one box where only one answer could be accepted.

7.5 Response analysis numbers also varied to an extent between NHS Board and site reporting due to suppressions and exclusions that were applied at different levels of analysis.

Response rates

7.6 The highest response rate for an NHS Board was the National Waiting Times Centre (75%) and the lowest response rate was for Forth Valley (46%).

Table 4 Response rate by NHS Board[7]

NHS Board Total forms sent out Number of Responses Response Rate Expected Response Rate
Ayrshire and Arran 7,296 3,706 51% 52%
Borders 874 513 59% 53%
Dumfries and Galloway 2,551 1,502 59% 54%
Fife 2,399 1,183 49% 49%
Forth Valley 1,500 690 46% 47%
Grampian 7,152 3,932 55% 56%
Greater Glasgow and Clyde 15,819 7,740 49% 51%
Highland 5,585 3,063 55% 55%
Lanarkshire 2,843 1,307 46% 46%
Lothian 3,596 1,822 51% 49%
Orkney 257 146 57% 60%
Shetland 570 278 49% 53%
Tayside 2,741 1,448 53% 49%
Western Isles 668 347 52% 56%
National Waiting Times Centre 1,380 1,032 75% 76%
Total 55,231 28,709 52% 52%

7.7 Of the 28,709 respondents, 28,000 sent their surveys back in the post, 598 completed their survey online and the remaining 111 completed the survey using the telephone helpline.

Non response


7.8 Prior to initial survey packs and reminder letters being sent, NHSCR undertook checks to ensure that surveys were not sent to people who were registered as dead.

7.9 Before the questionnaires were initially sent, 839 people were identified as deceased by NHSCR checks and removed from the sample. Prior to the first and second reminders, NHSCR checks identified 305 and 271 people as deceased respectively and they were not sent reminders.

7.10 During the fieldwork period 47 people contacted the contractors by phone or post to inform the contractor that the person sent a survey had died, compared to 234 last year. This indicates that the new process for death checks has been a significant improvement.


7.11 A total of 1,142 (2%) questionnaires were returned to the contractors as undelivered. The sample was drawn from each NHS Board's inpatient records and therefore addresses would have been checked with the patient during their stay. It is possible that a number of patients have moved home during the period after leaving hospital and the survey being distributed.

Returned blank

7.12 A total of 1,778 (3%) questionnaires were returned blank. Some of these questionnaires were returned blank because the person was too ill to complete it.


Email: Gregor Boyd

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