Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care


Last updated 14 May 2019 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • in the 2017/18 survey, one question was missed off so the results are based on 19 questions rather than the usual 20 – this means the data isn’t directly comparable to previous years
  • the average score for satisfaction with hospital inpatient care in 2017/18 was 78.4 out of 100
  • inpatients with a background from Any other ethnic group were the most satisfied in 2017/18
  • inpatients of Bangladeshi background were the least satisfied of any ethnic group in 2017/18
  • in 2013/14 to 2016/17, Irish inpatients were among the most satisfied, while Bangladeshi and Pakistani inpatients were among the least satisfied
Things you need to know

Due to an error, results from the 2017/18 survey are based on 19 questions rather than the usual 20. This means they are not directly comparable to data from previous years. To allow comparison to last year (2016/17), NHS Digital have produced a version of the 2016/17 data also based on 19 questions.

Results taken from a low number of responses are less reliable so you need to be cautious when looking at results from smaller ethnic groups. In particular, the number of respondents in the Gypsy and Irish Traveller group are very low and this means their scores can vary widely - from being amongst the highest in one year to amongst the lowest in another. To give some context, in 2017/18 out of around 69,000 respondents, only around 5,500 (8%) weren’t from a White British background.

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). Selected 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. By ethnicity

Average patient satisfaction score for hospital care by ethnicity in 2016-17 and 2017-18 (based on 19 questions)
Ethnicity 2016-17 2017-18
Average score Average score
All 78.0 78.4
Bangladeshi 72.7 71.9
Chinese 75.2 80.6
Indian 76.0 76.7
Pakistani 75.2 75.0
Asian other 78.0 79.8
Black African 77.3 78.4
Black Caribbean 77.2 74.7
Black other 79.8 74.7
Mixed White/Asian 75.8 76.6
Mixed White/Black African 79.4 78.4
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 75.4 78.8
Mixed other 81.3 75.3
White British 78.2 78.6
White Irish 82.5 81.4
White Gypsy/Traveller 81.4 withheld to protect confidentiality
White other 78.7 79.5
Arab 78.5 80.1
Any other 77.8 83.1

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care By ethnicity Summary

  • inpatients from Any other ethnic group, White Irish, Chinese and Arab backgrounds were most satisfied with hospital services in 2017/18, with scores of 83.1, 81.4, 80.6 and 80.1 out of 100 respectively
  • inpatients from Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and other Black backgrounds were the least satisfied with hospital services in 2017/18, scoring satisfaction at 71.9, 74.7 and 74.7 out of 100 respectively
  • in the 2 years available, White Irish patients were among the most satisfied ethnic groups, ranked 2nd in 2017/18 and 1st in 2016/17
  • Bangladeshi patients were the least satisfied with hospital care in each of the 2 years covered

3. By ethnicity over time

Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care by ethnicity over time (based on 20 questions)
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/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 ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Inpatient satisfaction with hospital care By ethnicity over time Summary

  • this table doesn’t include data from the 2017/18 survey because one question was missed off so the data isn’t directly comparable to previous years
  • across all 4 years, Irish patients were consistently among the most satisfied ethnic groups
  • Bangladeshi and Pakistani patients were among the least satisfied with hospital care across all 4 years

4. Methodology

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) Adult inpatient survey is the major survey of inpatient experience of hospital services in England.

Data was collected between August 2017 and January 2018 from patients who stayed in hospital during July 2017. The 2017 inpatient survey involved 148 NHS acute and NHS foundation trusts in England.

Patients successfully completed 72,778 questionnaires – a response rate of 41%. Of these, 69,151 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 (55,292 responses) but higher in 2015/16 (76,993 responses) and 2016/17 (73,358).

It is important to be able to compare NHS trusts which treat patients with different characteristics. In addressing any potential bias, CQC standardise different organisations to a common average mix of patients. This removes differences due to gender or age which makes the comparison easier.

Trusts were asked to include as their sample the final 1,250 patients to be discharged by 31 July (a small number of specialist trusts could not reach the required sample size). 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 very 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 2017
  • women using obstetrics or maternity services, including those who had a spontaneous miscarriage
  • patients admitted for planned termination of pregnancy
  • psychiatry patients (patients who received treatment for a mental health condition)
  • 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 2017.

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.


Scores are presented to one decimal place.

Related publications

The release of the indicator file is accompanied by a statistical commentary that can be found in the ‘Resources’ section on this page.

Further technical information

Indicator specification and Indicator quality statement

CQC technical document 2017

5. 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.

6. Download the data

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

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, unweighted sample size The data for 2017-18 is based on 19 rather than the usual 20 questions due to a question being missed off in the 2017-18 survey. There are 2 versions of the 2016-17 results- one based on 19 questions for comparability to the 2017-18 data, and one based on the usual 20 questions. The Note column identifies the number of questions used.