Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care


Last updated 4 March 2018 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • the average score for satisfaction with hospital inpatient care in 2016/17 was 76.7 out of 100
  • Irish inpatients had the highest satisfaction scores in 2016/17 for any ethnic group for which satisfaction could be reliably estimated
  • inpatients of Bangladeshi background had the lowest satisfaction score of any ethnic group in 2016/17
  • in each of the 4 years presented, Irish patients had among the highest satisfaction scores, while Bangladeshi and Pakistani patients were among the least satisfied
Things you need to know

Bear in mind that the trends shown in the data may not extend beyond the time series of this analysis.

Results taken from a low number of responses are more likely to be affected by statistical variation, so observed changes might not reflect real differences. The number of respondents taking part in the survey each year is relatively large – around 73,000 in 2016/17, about 77,000 in 2015/16, and roughly 55,000 in 2014/15, counting only respondents with a known ethnicity. Caution should still be used when comparing satisfaction levels between ethnic groups or over time. This is because the sample sizes for some of the ethnic groups presented may be small (all ethnic minority groups combined made up 5% of respondents in 2016/17).

The degree of uncertainty around survey estimates is greater when the number of respondents is small, and will be highest for minority ethnic groups. This is particularly the case for the Gypsy or Irish Traveller group, which had the highest average score in 2016/17, yet the lowest average satisfaction score for 2013/14 and among the lowest for 2015/16. Their average score is not shown for 2014/15 as there were too few survey respondents in this group.

What the data measures

This data measures inpatient experience of hospital care.

The data source is the National Inpatient Survey, published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Twenty questions from the survey are used to calculate an average score for satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is the least and 100 is the most. The statistics represent the average score out of 100 for survey respondents in each ethnic group.

Patients are eligible for the survey if they:

  • are 16 years of age or over
  • live in England
  • have been discharged from an acute or specialist trust, with at least one overnight stay

Patients excluded from the survey include:

  • those whose treatment related to maternity
  • those admitted for the planned termination of a pregnancy
  • day care patients
  • private patients (non-NHS)
The ethnic categories used in this data

The standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census were used.


  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British (“White British”)
  • Irish
  • Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller
  • Any Other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any Other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any Other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any Other Black/African/Caribbean background

Other ethnic group

  • Arab
  • Any Other ethnic group

2. Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care by ethnicity

Average patient satisfaction score for hospital care by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Average score Average score Average score Average score
All 76.9 76.6 77.3 76.7
Bangladeshi 70.8 72.7 73.2 72.0
Chinese 70.8 78.5 73.7 73.4
Indian 73.9 74.0 75.9 74.8
Pakistani 72.3 72.0 73.5 74.4
Asian other 78.7 77.0 80.0 77.4
Black African 76.5 75.5 77.8 76.3
Black Caribbean 74.6 77.0 76.1 75.0
Black other 72.8 77.1 71.1 78.6
Mixed White/Asian 75.5 75.5 75.1 74.3
Mixed White/Black African 68.6 78.1 71.6 78.6
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 75.5 82.1 79.6 74.5
Mixed other 80.7 70.1 79.3 80.6
White British 77.1 76.8 77.6 76.9
White Irish 78.9 79.7 80.3 81.1
White Gypsy or Irish Traveller 59.0 withheld to protect confidentiality 75.1 81.9
White other 77.8 75.4 77.3 77.8
Arab 71.6 72.5 76.6 77.4
Any other 80.4 70.9 78.4 78.0

Download table data for ‘Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care by ethnicity Summary

  • Gypsy or Irish Traveller inpatients and Irish inpatients had the highest levels of satisfaction with hospital services in 2016/17, with scores of 81.9 and 81.1 out of 100 respectively (although few Gypsy or Irish Traveller patients responded so caution should be used when interpreting this)
  • in each of the 4 years covered, Irish patients were among the 3 most satisfied ethnic groups
  • although Gypsy or Irish travellers had the highest satisfaction score in 2016/17 (81.9 out of 100), they had among the lowest satisfaction scores in 2015/16 (75.1 out of 100) and the lowest score in 2013/14 (59.0 out of 100) – but these figures should be treated with caution because few in this group took part in the survey (figures for 2014/15 are not presented for this reason)
  • inpatients from Bangladeshi and Chinese backgrounds were the least satisfied with hospital services in 2016/17, scoring satisfaction at 72.0 and 73.4 out of 100 respectively
  • Bangladeshi and Pakistani patients were among the least satisfied with hospital care in each of the 4 years covered

3. Methodology

The CQC Adult inpatient survey is the major survey of inpatient experience of hospital services in England.

Data was collected from the end of August 2016 and the beginning of July 2017 from patients who stayed in hospital during July 2016. The 2016 inpatient survey involved 149 NHS acute and NHS foundation trusts in England. Patients successfully completed 77,850 questionnaires – a response rate of 44%. Of these, 73,358 responses had a known ethnicity. The sample sizes for patients with a known ethnicity achieved was lower in 2013/14 (58,624 responses) and 2014/15 (55,293 responses) but higher in 2015/16 (76,993 responses).

It is important to be able to distinguish between the characteristics of different NHS trusts. In addressing any potential bias, CQC standardise different organisations to a common average case-mix. This removes demographic differences as a source of variation and provides a 'level playing field' for comparing providers.

Trusts were asked to select a sample of 1,250 patients who were discharged from hospital working backwards from 31st July (a small number of specialist trusts who could not reach the required sample size sampled back to 1 January 2016 if necessary). This is slightly different to previous years when trusts could choose whether to select patients discharged in either June, July or August. This is not thought to have disrupted the time series since discharges still occurred at roughly the same time of year and therefore patient experience is not expected to be substantially different.

Certain groups of patients were excluded from the survey before trusts drew their samples, including:

  • patients who had died
  • children or young people under 16 years old during July 2016
  • women using obstetrics or maternity services, including those who had a spontaneous miscarriage
  • patients admitted for planned termination of pregnancy
  • psychiatry patients
  • day case patients (patients who arrived at and left hospital on the same day)
  • private patients (non-NHS)
  • NHS patients treated at private hospitals
  • any patients who were known to be inpatients at the time samples were drawn
  • patients without a UK postal address
  • patients who opted out of having their details used for anything except clinical care

For further information visit the Care Quality Commission’s web page on the Adult inpatient survey 2016.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Data is suppressed if fewer than 30 people answered the relevant questions in a particular group. This is to protect the confidentiality of respondents.


Values are presented to one decimal place.

Related publications

The release of the indicator file is accompanied by a statistical commentary (PDF)

Further technical information

Indicator specification (PDF) (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

Indicator quality statement (PDF) (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

CQC technical document 2016/17 (PDF) (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


NHS Digital

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) Adult inpatient survey helps healthcare providers understand what a stay in hospital is like for patients. This understanding can be used to encourage improvements both nationally and locally and to measure and compare the performance of individual NHS trusts.

5. Download the data

Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care - Spreadsheet (csv) 7 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, unweighted sample size