Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2017

Date published: 15 May 2018

The Department of Health (DoH) today published the ‘Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2017’ report.

Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2017

DoH, working in conjunction with Health & Social Care Trusts, have carried out the Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2017, a repeat of the first inpatient survey which was carried out in 2014. The aim is to gain a greater understanding of the aspects of care that are of most importance to patients, to act on patients’ feedback, and to improve the quality of health and social care. 

Key findings:

Results from the Inpatient Patient Experience Survey 2017, based on the 6,868 responses received, show that:

  • More than nine in ten respondents (92%) reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall hospital experience. Patients also expressed high levels of satisfaction with the hospital environment (93%), the care and treatment they received (93%) and with hospital staff (92%). Around a fifth (18%) of respondents noted that they were dissatisfied with some aspect of their care.
  • More than four-fifths of respondents (82%) rated their admission to hospital as excellent or good.
  • Those that arrived at hospital by ambulance rated the care they received very highly. The vast majority of respondents reported that ambulance staff showed care and compassion towards them (98%), behaved in a polite and courteous manner (98%), spoke to them in a way that they could understand (98%), made them feel safe and secure (98%) and explained to them what was happening in relation to their care and treatment (94%). Nine in ten respondents (89%) who had been admitted to hospital through A&E rated their care and treatment there as either excellent (56%) or good (33%) while 4% rated their care in A&E as poor or very poor.
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents (71%) whose admission to hospital was planned felt the length of time they were on the waiting list was acceptable, 29% felt it was too long. For four out of five respondents their admission date was not changed by the hospital.
  • As regards communication between patient and staff, a fifth felt doctors talked in front of them as if they were not there, and 15% felt nurses talked in front of them as if they were not there. Almost a third (29%) of respondents indicated that on occasion they received conflicting messages with one member of staff saying one thing with another saying something quite different.
  • Nearly all respondents felt the room/ward (98%) and the treatment rooms (99%) were very clean or fairly clean, with 93% of respondents rating the toilets and bathrooms as very clean or fairly clean.
  • While almost a quarter of respondents (23%) stated that they were bothered at night by noise from hospital staff, a larger proportion reported being bothered at night by noise from other patients (37%).
  • Overall, around two-thirds of respondents (65%) rated the hospital food as good or very good while 11% rated the food as poor or very poor. Four-fifths of respondents were always offered a choice of food and seven in ten respondents indicated that they felt there were always healthy food options on the hospital menu.
  • On the day they left hospital, almost a third of respondents (31%) had their discharge delayed. The main reason noted by respondents was that they had to wait for medicines. Over two-thirds of respondents (68%) felt they definitely received enough care and assistance from health services after they left hospital with under a fifth (15%) indicating that they had not. Overall, the majority of respondents (79%) rated the arrangements for them leaving hospital as excellent or good.
  • In the 2017 survey, 56% of respondents rated their care and treatment in A&E as excellent, compared with 47% from the 2014 survey.
  • In the 2017 survey, 27% of respondents rated the hospital food overall as very good, compared with 21% from the 2014 survey.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This publication presents the findings from the 2017 Inpatient Patient Experience Survey, a repeat of the first inpatient survey which was carried out in 2014.  
  2. The Inpatient Patient Experience Survey was conducted as a postal survey where a questionnaire was posted to all eligible inpatients (aged 16+) that had been discharged from a HSC hospital in Northern Ireland during a six week period in September/October 2017.
  3. With 18,575 questionnaires issued and 6,868 returned, the response rate for the survey was 37%.
  4. In respect of results and analysis, the data has been weighted for non-response. The results have been weighted by sex, age, and method of admission (planned or unplanned) to account for differences between the characteristics of those patients who were sent a questionnaire and those that returned a questionnaire. This ensures that the published results are more representative of the views of the population.
  5. The publication presents inpatients’ overall satisfaction levels with the care they received including a more in-depth look at a range of issues such as the journey to hospital, admission to hospital, behaviour and attitude of staff, pain relief, hospital food, cleanliness of wards, noise levels, and arrangements for leaving hospital.
  6. This publication is available online.
  7. Additional information is available from:

    Public Health Information and Research Branch
    Information Analysis Directorate
    Department of Health
    Annex 2
    Castle Buildings
    Belfast BT4 3SQ

    Telephone: 028 9052 2501

  8. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Health Press Office team on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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