Response rate for the survey
The response rate for the survey is the number of completed forms returned as a percentage of the number of valid survey packs sent out. In total, 7,949 valid surveys were sent to patients and 4,835 were returned completed, giving an overall response rate of 61 per cent. Survey packs were considered to be valid if they were successfully delivered to an eligible patient. Of the 4,835 respondents:
- 4,297 sent their surveys back in the post
- 525 completed their survey online
- 11 completed their survey via the telephone helpline, and
- the remaining 2 completed the survey using the telephone translation helpline.
Response rates for individual NHS Boards, Regional Cancer Networks, and Cancer Centres
The NHS Board, Regional Cancer Network and Cancer Centre with highest response were NHS Borders, the North of Scotland Cancer Network and Ninewells Hospital respectively (Table 2, Table 3, Table 4).
Note: where the tables overleaf include numbers that are too low to report (less than 20) these instances have been marked with '**' .
Table 2: Response rate by NHS Board of treatment
|NHS Board||Responded||Did not respond||Total|
|NHS Ayrshire & Arran||265||62%||162||38%||427||100%|
|NHS Dumfries & Galloway||78||59%||55||41%||133||100%|
|NHS Forth Valley||139||62%||87||38%||226||100%|
|NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde||1,471||57%||1,126||43%||2,597||100%|
|NHS Western Isles||**||**||**||**||**||100%|
|Golden Jubilee National Hospital||97||59%||67||41%||164||100%|
|Regional Cancer Network||Responded||Did not respond||Total|
|North of Scotland Cancer Network||1,225||66%||638||34%||1,863||100%|
|South East Scotland Cancer Network||1,360||63%||812||37%||2,172||100%|
|West of Scotland Cancer Network||2,153||57%||1,597||43%||3,750||100%|
|Not part of a Network (Golden Jubilee National Hospital)||97||59%||67||41%||164||100%|
|Cancer Centre||Responded||Did not respond||Total|
|Aberdeen Royal Infirmary||487||67%||242||33%||729||100%|
|Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre||576||60%||392||40%||968||100%|
|Edinburgh Cancer Centre||558||68%||268||32%||826||100%|
The survey should have taken respondents around 20 minutes to complete. The total respondent burden as defined by (number of responses) * (time taken to respond) is 1,612 hours.
The number of responses analysed for each question is typically lower than the total number of responses received. This is because not all of the questionnaires returned could be included in the calculation of results for every individual question. This was mainly for the following reasons:
- The specific question did not apply to the respondent and so they did not answer it. For example if the patient did not receive radiotherapy treatment they would not complete the questions relating to radiotherapy;
- The respondent answered that they did not know or could not remember the answer to a particular question;
- The respondent gave an invalid response to the question, for example they ticked more than one box where only one answer could be accepted.
A total of 570 respondents opted out of the survey, or were reported by a friend or relative as being too ill to take part. Patients could opt out of the survey by contacting the survey helpline or returning the questionnaire blank. This was the only form of non-response where it was considered that an eligible patient had received a valid survey. These 570 individuals were therefore included in the calculation of the survey response rate.
A total of 45 questionnaires were returned to the contractors as undelivered. It is possible that these patients no longer live at the address under which they are registered at their GP practice (this is the initial source of the address information used in the survey).
As with all Care Experience surveys, every effort was made to avoid questionnaires being sent to family members of deceased people. Before the fieldwork began in earnest, ISD removed all patients appearing on the National Records of Scotland ( NRS) deaths database from the sample. A revised list of people included in the survey was sent to NHS Central Register ( NHSCR) and to ATOS who administrate the CHI database. On the morning of each mail out, NHSCR alerted ISD to any deaths that had been formally registered. In addition, ATOS were able to notify ISD of any deaths that were captured on the CHI database that had not yet been formally registered. For example, in situations where a GP has informed CHI of a patient's death but the family of the deceased had yet to register the death. ISD processed this information and supplied a list of deceased people to the contractors by noon each day of mail out. Patients were also marked as deceased in situations where a relative of the patient had reported directly to the contractor that the patient had died. The contractor removed the relevant letters/questionnaires from the mailing.
- Before the first questionnaires were sent, 48 people were identified as deceased and removed from the sample. These people were not sent survey questionnaires.
- Prior to the first and second reminders, 53 and 75 people respectively were identified as deceased and they were not sent further correspondence.
- In seven cases, patients were identified as deceased by a relative. However, this information was either not received, or the death was not registered, in time to prevent a survey questionnaire being sent.
Self-identified ineligible patients
- Over the course of survey fieldwork a total of 42 patients identified that they were not eligible to take part in the survey. This was typically through patients reporting that they had not received hospital treatment for cancer.
- In cases where a patient requested further information regarding their inclusion in the survey sample, staff from the patient's NHS board of residence made every effort to contact the patient to discuss this.