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.

6 Detailed Findings - Religion

6.1 People were asked which religion, religious denomination or body they belonged to. The way that people answered this question is shown in Table 4.

Table 4 Religion of respondents

Group Number of respondents Percentage of respondents
Church of Scotland 62,917 43.2
None 38,995 26.8
Roman Catholic 22,694 15.6
Other Christian 11,391 7.8
Muslim 1,370 0.9
Pagan 970 0.7
Another religion (non-Christian) 751 0.5
Buddhist 460 0.3
Sikh 395 0.3
Hindu 278 0.2
Jewish 228 0.2
No response or invalid response 5,120 3.5

6.2 For the analysis, groups were compared with the group who identified as Church of Scotland, the largest group. Of the 39 questions modelled, religion had an effect on experience for 32 of them, although this was generally a small effect.

6.3 Religion had an effect on all themes present in the survey, that is access, referrals, the GP surgery, doctors, nurses, care and treatment, medicines, overall care and out-of-hours. There were larger effects for some questions including taking your prescription as instructed. However religion only had an effect on two of the six questions about out-of-hours healthcare.

6.4 The Church of Scotland group had the most positive experiences compared to the other groups.

6.5 Roman Catholic, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh groups had similarly positive experience to the Church of Scotland group. Pagan and Buddhist groups had a slightly less positive experience than the Church of Scotland group.

6.6 The remaining groups (Another religion non-Christian; Muslim; Other Christian; and None) had the least positive experience compared to the Church of Scotland group. People with no religion had the least positive experiences, having a less positive experience for 28 questions compared to the Church of Scotland group.

6.7 Data from other studies on the relationship between religion and people's experience and perceptions of healthcare is limited. In our analysis of the Scottish Inpatient Patient Experience Survey (Scottish Government 2011) we found similar results. Those with no religion tended to be less positive, although the effects were generally small and there were some small differences between Christian and other religious groups.

6.8 A US review (Benjamins 2006) examined data from the US Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of older people to assess whether there was a link between religious salience (importance) and patient satisfaction with their health care encounters. They found that higher levels of religious salience were significantly related to being very satisfied with one's health care. However caution should be applied as this study was based on a subsection of the population i.e. older people, and carried out in the US where cultural and religious norms are likely to differ.


Email: Gregor Boyd

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