Patient care ratings

To understand the quality of services the NHS delivers, it is important to understand what people think about their care and treatment. The outpatient and inpatient surveys ask users overall how they rated the care they received.

How did patients rate the care they received (to 2011)?

The results of the inpatient survey for rating overall care received in hospital remained fairly consistent between 2005 and 2011. The percentage of respondents who rated their care as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ ranged from 77% in 2005 to a maximum of 79% in 2009 and remained at 78% in 2010 and 2011. The percentage of respondents who rated their care as ‘good’ or ‘fair’ varied between 18% and 21% between 2005 and 2011, while the percentage of respondents who rated their care as ‘poor’ remained constant at 2% for most of the data period, increasing slightly to 3% in 2011. ~This question was discontinued in 2012 and replaced with the below.

This question was discontinued when the outpatient survey ceased in 2011. A replacement question was added to the inpatient survey from 2012.

Overall, how do patients rate the care they receive (from 2012)?

Starting in 2012, inpatients were asked to rate their overall care experience on a zero to 10 scale (0 being a poor experience and 10 a very good experience). In 2012 and 2013, 87% of inpatients rated their care with a score of six or above, which increased to 89% in 2014 and 2015. 49% of respondents gave the highest rankings (either a 9 or 10 rating) in 2014 and 2015.

Updated August 2016.

How did outpatient ratings of care changed up to 2011?

The majority (95%) of outpatients surveyed in 2011 rated the care they received as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. The percentage of outpatients who rated the care they received as ‘excellent’ had risen by 4% to 44% in 2011 compared to 2009. The percentage of outpatients who rated their care as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ remained unchanged between 2009 and 2011 at around 1%.

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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