Health-related quality of life for people aged 65 and over


1. Main facts and figures

  • between 2012/13 and 2016/17, the average health-related quality of life score for people in England aged 65 and older increased from 0.726 to 0.735 (on a scale of 0 to 1, with 1 representing full health)
  • in 2016/17, the average health-related quality of life score was highest in the Other Asian ethnic group (0.805), and lowest in the White Gypsy and Irish Traveller ethnic group (0.509)
  • the Other Asian ethnic group had the highest average health-related quality of life score every year since 2012/13, while the White Gypsy and Irish Traveller group had the lowest score in every year except one
Things you need to know

The GP Patient Survey (GPPS) is a sample survey, which collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations about the total population.

The commentary for this data only includes reliable, or statistically significant, findings. Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

Keep in mind when making comparisons between ethnic groups that all survey estimates are subject to a degree of uncertainty. This is because they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

This is particularly the case for people from a Gypsy or Irish Traveller background. Although this group had among the lowest health related quality of life scores in each year since 2012/13, the figures for this group are based on a small number of responses (around 35 each year) and have been variable year on year.

Although the number of respondents taking part in the GPPS each year is relatively large (about 800,000, with around 300,000 older people responding about their quality of life), caution should still be used when comparing satisfaction levels between ethnic groups or over time.

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

What the data measures

This data measures the average score for health-related quality of life for adults aged 65 and older.

Respondents to the GP Patient Survey had to answer questions about:

  • mobility
  • self-care
  • usual activities
  • pain and discomfort
  • anxiety and depression

They also rated their health on the day they completed the survey, on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 equivalent to perfect health).

These were all used to calculate a score for overall health-related quality of life. Scores range from 0 (the worst possible quality of life) to 1.0 (a near perfect quality of life).

Patients are eligible for the GP Patient Survey if they live in England and:

  • are 18 years of age or older (although only respondents aged 65 and older are included in this analysis)
  • have an NHS number
  • have been registered with a GP for 6 months
  • have not received a survey in the last 12 months
The ethnic categories used in this data

This data uses 18 standard ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census:


  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/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
Average health-related quality of life score for people aged 65 and older, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
All 0.726 0.727 0.734 0.733 0.735
Bangladeshi 0.589 0.574 0.593 0.607 0.556
Chinese 0.705 0.675 0.698 0.705 0.681
Indian 0.662 0.673 0.681 0.679 0.688
Pakistani 0.577 0.602 0.578 0.590 0.580
Asian other 0.784 0.785 0.792 0.802 0.805
Black African 0.725 0.736 0.721 0.721 0.753
Black Caribbean 0.705 0.716 0.715 0.721 0.727
Black other 0.681 0.677 0.676 0.686 0.679
Mixed White/Asian 0.747 0.712 0.723 0.727 0.746
Mixed White/Black African 0.667 0.763 0.691 0.744 0.720
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 0.704 0.733 0.713 0.690 0.717
Mixed other 0.693 0.712 0.715 0.711 0.728
White British 0.729 0.730 0.738 0.736 0.739
White Irish 0.720 0.725 0.729 0.733 0.740
White Gypsy/Traveller 0.573 0.543 0.540 0.626 0.509
White other 0.712 0.720 0.719 0.723 0.726
Arab 0.687 0.606 0.610 0.649 0.677
Any other 0.671 0.669 0.667 0.673 0.683

Download table data for ‘Average health-related quality of life score for people aged 65 and older’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Average health-related quality of life score for people aged 65 and older’ (CSV)


This data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, the average health-related quality of life score for people in England aged 65 and over was 0.735, an increase from 0.726 in 2012/13
  • the average quality of life score was highest in the Other Asian (0.805) ethnic group
  • average quality of life scores were lower than the national average in the White Gypsy and Irish Traveller (0.509), Bangladeshi (0.556), Pakistani (0.580), Arab (0.677), Other Black (0.679), Chinese (0.681), Other (0.683), Indian (0.688) and Other White (0.726) ethnic groups
  • since 2012/13, the Other Asian ethnic group consistently had the highest average health-related quality of life score, while the White Gypsy and Irish Traveller group had the lowest score in every year except one

3. Methodology

The GP Patient Survey is the major survey of patient experience of GP services in England.

In 2016/17, around 2.15 million surveys were sent out and around 808,000 responses were received.

Respondents can complete the survey by post, online or by phone. They can request a questionnaire in a different language, in braille or online using sign language.

The health-related quality of life questions in the survey are from the EQ-5D questionnaire, a standard instrument for measuring overall health developed by the EuroQol group of researchers.

Respondents answer 5 questions on their health, covering mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain and discomfort, and anxiety and depression). Their answers are scored numerically from 1 to 5, with 1 being no health issues and 5 being the worst score. They are also asked to mark their health status on the day of the interview as a point on a graph with a vertical scale of 0 to 100, with 100 equivalent to perfect health. These scores are then converted to a single index value which takes a maximum score of 1 (full health).

The average of the EQ-5D score has been calculated for each ethnic group, based on all valid responses from older people taking part in the survey (and where there was a valid record of the local authority area in which they lived).

See the EQ-5D-5L user guide for more information about the EQ-5D measure


Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy. For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split.

Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the population being studied (in this measure, GP patients). This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the population.

Read more about weighted data on the GP Patient Survey website.

Confidence intervals:

Confidence intervals are calculated around estimates of average health status score and these should be considered when interpreting results. You can see the 95% confidence intervals if you download the data.

Based on the GP Patient Sur

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics


Public Health England

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

1 in 5 people are over 65 and this is set to rise to 1 in 3 by 2033.

Older people are the biggest users of health and social care, and often have the most complex needs, longer-term conditions, and functional, sensory or cognitive impairments.

Dementia also accounts for more expenditure than heart disease and cancer combined.

This data will help provide a greater focus on preventing ill health, preserving independence and promoting well-being in older people. This is key to keeping systems functioning and to ensure that the needs of this large group of users are addressed.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


NHS England

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

Feedback from patients on their experience, treatment and care is an important source of information for helping local clinicians and managers to improve the quality of service design and healthcare.

The GP patient survey (GPPS) responses used for this measure offer healthcare providers insights that can help improve GP surgeries and the services the provide.

5. Download the data

Health related quality of life for older people - Spreadsheet (csv) 21 KB

This file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Age Bracket, Value, Unweighted respondents, Confidence intervals