Cleanliness in acute settings

To understand the quality of services that the NHS delivers, it is important to understand what patients think about their care and treatment. The inpatient and outpatient surveys ask service users in England for their opinions on the cleanliness of the wards, departments and toilets.

How have perceptions of inpatient rooms and ward cleanliness changed?

In 2016, 98% of respondents said their room or ward was fairly or very clean. The proportion of patients who felt that the hospital room or ward they were in was very clean has been increasing over the past 10 years, from 53% in 2006, to 72% in 2016. Since 2013, almost no respondents said their room was not at all clean, down from 2% of respondents in 2005.

Updated July 2017.

How have perceptions of toilet cleanliness changed among inpatients?

In 2016, 95% of respondents found the toilets and bathrooms they used in hospital were clean. 64% of respondents said the toilets were very clean in 2016, a sizable increase from 48% in 2005. Still, in 2016, 1% of respondents found the toilets and bathrooms were not at all clean, which is a decrease from 3% in 2006.

Updated July 2016.

How have perceptions of outpatient department cleanliness changed?

Nationally, the majority (98%) of patients surveyed in 2011 reported that in their opinion the outpatient department they attended was either 'very clean' or 'fairly clean'. Also in 2011, the percentage of patients reporting that the outpatient department they attended was 'very clean' (65%) was greater than any of the previous three surveys (2009 - 61%, 2004 - 53%, 2003 - 60%).

The outpatient survey ceased in 2011.

How have perceptions of outpatient toilets cleanliness changed?

On the whole, patients' opinions on the cleanliness of outpatient toilets are not as good as those on outpatient departments. However, similar to the views on the department, the majority of patients surveyed in 2011 reported that in their opinion the outpatient toilets were either 'very clean' or 'fairly clean' (95%) and 2011 saw the largest percentage of patients saying that they found the outpatient toilets 'very clean' (60%) over all the surveys.

The outpatient survey ceased in 2011.

About this data

These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey and the Outpatient Survey (which was discontinued in 2011).

The results from 2005-14 were taken from analysis undertaken in November 2015 on the trends over the period. To enable fairer comparisons between years, data was standardised to account for demographic differences in respondents. All data points were adjusted to the age, gender and admission route profile of respondents in 2014. 2015 results are standardised to the demographic profile of 2015 in terms of age/sex/route of admission. This is acceptable when comparing year-on-year results because of the relatively limited annual change in the demographic profile of the overall set of respondents. However, over longer periods, the small annual changes accumulate and need to be taken into account, and further standardisation needs to be applied (see more).

The results (percentages) from each provider are given equal weight in calculating the England results. Some providers have a higher response rate than others and would therefore have a greater influence over the England average.

To correct this, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) applies a ‘weight’ to the data. As a result of applying this weight, the responses from each provider have an equal influence over the England average, regardless of differences in response rates between providers.

Results (percentages) are presented from CQC's national reports and have been rounded up or down to whole numbers. If two response categories are added together (such as ‘very good’ and ’good’), the resulting figure will be slightly different to the figures reported elsewhere, because these used results to at least two decimal places. Likewise, columns may not add up to exactly 100% due to the rounding.

For more information please see NHS Surveys: Current surveys, Previous surveys


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