To understand the quality of services that the NHS and social care deliver, it is important to know what people think about their care and treatment. The national patient experience surveys ask service users overall how they rate the care they have received.
A number of national patient surveys ask service users to rate their overall experience on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 10 (very good). It is useful to compare people's responses to understand how experience varies across NHS services.
Parents with children aged 15 and under who had been admitted to hospital as an inpatient or day case were asked in the Children and Young People's Survey how they felt about their child's overall experience. They responded the most favourably, with 37% of respondents rating their child's experience as 10 (very good) and only 0.7% rating their experience as 0 (very poor). In contrast, only 20% of Community Mental Health Survey respondents rated their overall experience as 10 (very good) and 3% of respondents rated their experience as 0 (very poor). 28% of Adult Inpatient Survey respondents rated their overall experience as 10 (very good), with 1% rating their experience as 0 (very poor). 27% of Emergency Department Survey respondents who had attended type 1 departments rated their overall experience as 10 (very good) and 2% rated their experience as 0 (very poor).
The differences in responses between the surveys may reflect the demographics of respondents, as well as experience of services. For example, older people tend to respond more positively in surveys, and a higher proportion of inpatients are in older age groups compared with community mental health service users.
All GP Patient Survey respondents are asked "Overall, how would you describe your experience of your GP practice?" The proportion of patients who had a good overall experience (‘very good’ plus ‘fairly good’) of their GP practice decreased from 88% in 2012 to 85% in 2017. In 2018, 84% of patients had a good overall experience and this decreased slightly to 83% in 2019. The proportion of patients who had a poor overall experience (‘very poor’ plus ‘fairly poor’) was 3.6% in 2012, and increased from to 6% in 2018 to 6.5% in 2019. Changes to the 2018 GP Patient Survey resulted in this question not being directly comparable with previous years.
Adult Inpatient Survey respondents are asked how they rate their overall experience, on a scale of 0 (I had a very poor experience) to 10 (I had a very good experience). The proportion of respondents who rated their overall experience as 10 (I had a very good experience) increased from 23% in 2012 to 28% in 2017. The proportion who rated their experience as 0 (I had a very poor experience) remained steady over time at 1%.
Adult Social Care Survey respondents are asked “Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the care and support services you receive?”. Answers to this question have remained largely stable over time. However, in the most recent year there was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of service users who were “extremely or very dissatisfied”. In 2017-18, 65% of service users reported they were “extremely or very satisfied” with the care and support services they receive, 25% were “quite satisfied” and 2% were “extremely or very dissatisfied”.
These results contrast to those from the Survey of Adult Carers in England, which asks how satisfied carers are with the support they and the person they care for receive from social services. In 2016-17, only 39% of carers said that they were “extremely” or “very” satisfied, and this number has declined since the first survey in 2012-13.
One interpretation of this data is that, despite funding constraints which have led to a fall in the volume of care provided, the quality of care for those that do receive it has been maintained.
The GP Patient Survey asks patients who have tried to get an NHS dental appointment in the last two years: "Overall, how would you describe your experience of NHS dental services?". Between 2012 and 2019, the proportion of patients who had a good overall experience ('very good' plus 'fairly good') increased from 83% to 85%. In 2012, 7.5% of patients had a poor overall experience (‘very poor’ plus ‘fairly poor’) and this decreased slightly to 6.7% in 2019.
About this data
These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey, the GP Patient Survey, the Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey, the Children and Young People's Survey, the Emergency Department Survey and the Community Mental Health Survey.
For each Care Quality Commission survey, two weights have been applied to the survey results data:
- a trust weight to ensure that each trust contributes equally to the England average, and
- a population weight, to make sure each trust’s results are representative of their own sample and do not over represent particular groups, such as older respondents.
A combination of these two weights results in a single weighting which has been applied to enable comparisons between years.
Note that data from the most recent survey publications have been used for comparison. Our comparison across NHS services does not adjust for differences in survey populations; therefore, the results may not be directly comparable.
For more information please see NHS England, National Patient and Staff Surveys and NHS Digital, Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey.