Press Release

Minister for Health welcomes publication of 2018 National Patient Experience Survey results showing 84% of patients reporting a very good or good experience in hospitals

Minister for Health Simon Harris has welcomed the publication of the National Patient Experience Survey (NPES) 2018 results, detailing patients’ experience in our hospitals.

26,752 people who were discharged from hospital in May were invited to participate in the survey, the second of its kind in Ireland. In total, 13,404 people took part resulting in a participation rate of over 50%.

The results show 84% of respondents said they had a very good or good experience in our hospitals, with 16% reporting a fair to poor experience.

Minister Harris thanked those who participated in the survey for providing an invaluable insight into their care in our hospitals. When filling out the survey, many patients also took the time to provide comments, with over 27,000 observations received. These in-depth descriptions give context to the results and allow patients to communicate their experience in their own words.

The Minister also confirmed that the expansion of the survey to maternity services is in development.

Speaking as the report was published, Minister Harris said “This piece of work is an essential service for policy makers, service providers and regulators. It gives patients a direct say in improving the quality and the safety of our health services. Their voices and experiences must help shape the future of the health service. They will also help to inform the direction of the Sláintecare implementation programme.”

The Department of Health welcomed the improvements in the Care on the Ward and Discharge and Transfer stages of care as compared with last year’s results. The results regarding the confidence and trust, as well as the dignity and respect patients experience while in hospital were also encouraging. The survey responses show that further improvements are required in communication of aftercare instructions at the Discharge or Transfer stage of care. This feedback is very valuable for our health service to hear and will be the subject of quality improvement initiatives.

Patients have also reported that additional emotional support from staff was needed, as time in hospital is often a challenging period for patients. In response to this, the National Healthcare Communication Programme has now been developed by the HSE. This very welcome programme of work aims to improve the experience of patients and their loved ones by supporting staff to take a sensitive and person-centred approach in all communications with patients and their families. This work programme delivers training, support and guidance to staff across our acute hospitals to better enable them to listen, explain and empathise with patients. Better communication has been shown to have a profound impact on healthcare outcomes and the experience of care for patients and their families.

As in 2017, the HSE and hospital groups have drafted quality improvement plans in response to the results of this survey. These are available online at

The 2017 and 2018 national and hospital reports, as well as more information about the NPES available on


Notes to the Editor

What is the National Patient Experience Survey?
A National Patient Experience Survey took place during the month of May 2018. The patient’s voice is essential to evaluate and inform the care given, and to inform and guide quality improvement initiatives at a local and national level. A joint partnership between HIQA, the Department of Health and the HSE is undertaking the survey to measure patient experience across Irish acute hospitals. This will for the first time also facilitate a comparison between Irish and international patient experiences.

In May 2017, 13,706 hospital patients participated in the first National Patient Experience Survey. This translates to a response rate of 51%.

In May 2018, 13,404 patients participated in the survey, leading to a response rate of 50%. This response rate compares very favourably with similar surveys conducted internationally.

From November 2018, the results of the survey will be released. The following will be published:
a national report
39 hospital reports

All hospitals must have at least 30 responses to have their results published. This is to protect the identity of participants.

All published reports will be available at

The HSE have used the results to develop and implement quality improvement plans at both hospital group and hospital level. These are available at