Hospital cleanliness

We examine results from the Adult Inpatient Survey, looking at hospital ward cleanliness.


Last updated: 17/09/2020

Hospital care


Across the NHS, cleanliness is a vital part of ensuring safe, high-quality care. Failure to meet the required standards could lead to the spread of infections, ward closures and potentially impact the health of patients and staff, as well as affecting patient experience. The Adult Inpatient Survey asks patients in England for their opinion on the cleanliness of the hospital room or ward that they were in.

How have opinions on the cleanliness of hospital rooms and wards changed over time? 17/09/2020

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Adult Inpatient Survey respondents are asked, “In your opinion, how clean was the hospital room or ward that you were in?”. Between 2009 and 2015, the proportion of respondents who said that their room or ward was ‘very clean’ increased from 63% to 70%, then remained constant until 2017. Since then, it has decreased slightly to 69% in 2019. The proportion who said that their room was ‘not very clean’ or ‘not at all clean’ decreased slightly from 4% in 2009 to 3% in 2019. This indicates that there has been meaningful positive change in hospital ward cleanliness over time, but that there is still room for improvement.

About this data

This indicator draws on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey. For the 2019 survey, patients aged 16 and over were eligible if they had stayed overnight in an NHS hospital during July 2019 (except in a few cases where hospitals with small numbers of patients had to sample for longer). Fieldwork for the survey (the time during which questionnaires were sent out and returned) took place between August 2019 and January 2020.

In order to be able to compare national data between years, the data was manipulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in two ways:

  • Weights were applied to the data to account for the fact that some trusts have a higher response rate than others, and would therefore have a greater influence over the average if a simple mean was calculated across all respondents.
  • A further weight was applied to account for the differences in demographics between those who responded and the eligible population.

A combination of these two weights resulted in one single weighting, which was applied to most of the questions to enable comparisons between years.

For more information, please see the 2019 Adult Inpatient Survey: Quality and Methodology Report.