Care Quality Commission Logo

The Care Quality Commission checks whether hospitals, care homes and care services are meeting government standards. Visit our website at www.cqc.org.uk.

Outpatient survey 2011

Our national survey of the views of patients' experiences asked people about their most recent visit to an outpatient department.

The survey included questions on waiting times, hospital facilities, seeing a doctor or other members of staff, tests and treatments and prescribed medications.

The results will be used by NHS Trusts to improve their performance and to understand their patients’ experiences, and by CQC for regulatory, compliance and monitoring activities.

Participation and eligibility

Key finding

More people felt that they were treated with respect and dignity.

  • Participants: over 72,000 
  • Response rate: 53 per cent 
  • Age range: 16 or older 
  • Time period: June to October 2011  
  • Eligibility: adult outpatients from 163 acute and specialist NHS Trusts in England who attended an outpatients department(s) during April or May 2011.
  • Exclusions: questions around the waiting times of patients who were referred for an appointment by an organisation outside England.

Key findings for England

Since 2009, more people:

  • were seen on time or earlier for their appointment.
  • felt that they were treated with respect and dignity. 
  • felt that their doctor listened to them.
  • felt involved in decisions about their care and treatment.
  • reported that doctors gave reasons for any treatment or action.
  • reported that toilets in outpatient departments were ‘very clean’.

However, the results also show that staff need to improve the way they provide information to patients about:

  • how long they have to wait if their appointment is delayed.
  • risks and benefits of treatments.
  • what happens during treatments.
  • why tests are needed.
  • test results.
  • the purpose of medication and side effects.

Since 2009, a higher proportion of repeat attendees at outpatients departments responded to the survey. Additionally, fewer people who had attended outpatients departments for the first time responded to the survey. This may have influenced the overall results of the survey and may explain some of the changes shown.

Results for England

The National summary describes all of our findings for England.

The results tables include a comparison showing findings from the 2009 survey and identify some of the significant changes.

Results for NHS Trusts

These results show how trusts performed on questions that could be scored in each area covered by the questionnaire. The technique used to analyse these results allows us to identify which trusts we can confidently say performed 'better', 'worse' or 'about the same' as all other trusts who took part in the survey.

View the A-Z list of outpatient survey results by NHS Trust.

Benchmark reports

Each trust was also provided with a benchmark report on its scores in the survey, which enables them to benchmark their performance against all other trusts and identify areas for improvement.

Download these reports at NHS Surveys.

Pre-release access list

You can find a list of individuals that had access to the results of the survey prior to publication below.

Outpatient department survey 2009

A similar survey of outpatient departments was carried out in 2009.

Read the results of the Outpatient survey 2009 at NHS Surveys.