Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services 2011/12 Volume 3: Variation in the Experiences of Primary Care Patients

This report examines the relationship between self-reported experiences of patients and a range of patient, GP practice and regional level characteristics.

4 Detailed Findings - Age

4.1 The age profile of the survey respondents is shown in Table 2.

Table 2 Age of respondents

Group Number of respondents Percentage of respondents
17-24 6,538 4
25-34 11,409 8
35-44 17,800 12
45-54 26,482 18
55-64 33,216 23
65-74 29,585 20
75 and over 20,539 14

4.2 Age had a strong effect on people's experience. Older people were generally more positive than younger people. This was the case for every question that we modelled. The effects of age were greatest for people's experiences of doctors and nurses, and the overall care provided.

4.3 This finding is consistent with findings from other studies. In a recent study of the English General Practice survey which looked at ethnic and socio- demographic factors influencing experience, increasing age was strongly associated with more positive experiences, except for patients in the oldest age group (85+) who reported slightly worse experiences than those aged 75-84 (Lyratzopoulos et al 2012).

4.4 It is not clear how these differences can be explained, for example whether they can be accounted for by actual differences in the quality of care provided or different cultural expectations between population groups. Differences may be accounted for by lower expectations of quality of care among older people. Given that many of the differences we observed between young and old were particularly marked around GP practice staff and overall care, cultural differences in willingness to report unfavourable assessments might explain some of these differences.

4.5 There are several other factors to consider. The survey may not capture the experiences of very frail elderly people sufficiently because although the survey achieved a good response rate among older people, very frail people who may have more limiting illnesses are probably less likely to respond than others. Younger people were less likely to respond to the survey and it may be that those who had less positive experiences were more likely to respond.


Email: Gregor Boyd

Back to top