Completing the survey

AHPEQS may be given to you by a hospital or healthcare service during your stay or just after you leave.


The survey has been designed to be as easy and quick to use as possible. You can choose whether or not to do the survey, how you complete the survey, and whether or not you want to be contacted about your responses. If you don’t want to do the survey, there are other ways for you to provide feedback to the hospital or healthcare service about your care.

All the information provided on this page relates to completing AHPEQS questions. Depending on the hospital or healthcare service, these questions may be asked as part of a longer survey, or they may be given to you by themselves with one or two extra questions attached. The information below does not necessarily apply to surveys which do not include the AHPEQS questions.

Note that the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care does not send or provide AHPEQS surveys directly to patients, but provides AHPEQS as a tool that health services can use to help them improve quality and safety.

How will I find out if I will get a survey

Before or during your stay in hospital or other healthcare service, you will often be told about the patient experience survey and asked whether you agree to receive a survey.

Depending on the hospital, you will usually be contacted about the survey just before you go home or soon afterwards (usually within a month). You might receive a letter, email, text message or phone call about the survey. In some healthcare services, a volunteer may approach you just before you leave to ask you the questions in person.

What will the survey ask

AHPEQS will ask about what happened while you were in hospital or another healthcare service. The questions focus on whether (and how often) you experienced certain things which are signs of high-quality, safe care (for example, ‘I was involved as much as I wanted in making decisions about my treatment and care’). There are also questions designed to find out anything about your experience that was unsafe or of poor quality.

The questions are about what happened during your most recent experience of a hospital or healthcare service. Most of the AHPEQS questions are about your observations of how often certain things happened during your stay. A few questions ask for your opinion about things that happened.

AHPEQS might come as part of a larger survey with other questions about your experience. The survey might also include questions about age, gender, ethnicity and language. This helps the hospital or healthcare service to understand the experiences of specific groups of patients and to decide whether action needs to be taken to improve experiences for these groups.

How long will it take

AHPEQS is very short – just 12 questions. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete unless the health service has decided to add on extra questions to get more specific information about your experience.

Will my survey answers affect my care

No. Some patients worry that if they give negative feedback, this will affect how they are treated by the hospital or healthcare service or by the staff members looking after them. On the other hand, they may think that if they give positive feedback on a survey it will help improve their care in future.

Neither of these is true, because:

  • The responses you provide will be treated as confidential and will not be used in decision-making about your treatment

  • Any reports about survey results will remove personal patient information and will group many patients together to show overall patterns, not individual responses

  • Health professionals are trained and obliged under their codes of professional conduct to treat all patients equally.

Do I have to do the survey

You don’t have to fill out the survey or provide any feedback about your healthcare experience if you don’t want to. Even if you have previously agreed to do a survey, you can change your mind later.

If you do not wish to participate, you can simply ignore letters, emails or text messages about the survey. If you are contacted by phone, or approached by a volunteer before you go home, you can say that you do not wish to answer the survey.

How can I do the survey

If you are invited to complete the survey after you leave the hospital or healthcare service, the invitation will be sent by email, text message or post. The invitation will provide information about how to respond. You do not have to respond to the invitation if you don’t want to take the survey.

For an online survey, you will be provided with a link to the survey that you can access on your computer. For a telephone interview, you will be called or receive a text message and asked if you would like to take the survey. For a paper survey, you will receive the survey by mail with a reply-paid envelope.

If you decide to complete the survey, you will need to follow the instructions about completing and returning the survey that are on the invitation. The online survey will be submitted electronically and there will be instructions about how to submit it. The phone survey will involve the interviewer asking you for a response to each question and noting down your responses. The paper survey will have instructions for how to post, or scan and email it back.

Can I do the survey in a different way

You may wish to complete the survey but use a different method (for example, you may have received an invitation to an online survey but you would prefer pen and paper). The invitation should tell you if this is possible and how you can arrange it.

Can someone else do the survey for me

You can ask someone to help you to complete the survey. If you are a family member or a carer, you can also complete the survey on behalf of someone who may have difficulty completing the survey.

What if I don’t have any major complaints

Hospitals and healthcare services want to know about all your experiences – whether they were good, bad, annoying or helpful. Knowing that services are good can help hospitals and other healthcare services to make sure they stay that way. Knowing where things went wrong can help hospitals and healthcare services to fix them. Even if only minor things annoyed you, it is still worth providing feedback so that services can continue to improve.

What if English is not my first language

If you would like to complete the survey and English is not your first language, there will often be information about translated versions of the survey given to you when you are asked to complete it. If you cannot see a translation in your language, you can have a family member, carer or other translator help you. You can also contact the hospital or healthcare service to ask if they have a translation in your language or if they have interpreting services available to help you.

Will my answers be confidential

All your survey answers should be kept confidential when you have submitted them.

You will often have a choice when completing your survey about whether you wish to provide your name and contact details to the hospital or healthcare service. The hospital or healthcare service might ask you to provide your name and contact details if you wish to discuss any experiences you have had.

Survey data will be collected by the health service organisation that sent out the survey and many peoples’ answers will be combined to provide an overall picture of patient experience. No names will be used in the process.

What if I haven’t been sent a survey

Hospitals and healthcare services might not survey all their patients. If you would like to provide feedback but have not been asked to complete a survey, you can contact the service directly to see whether it is possible to send you one.

There are other ways to provide feedback about your experiences. You can contact the hospital or healthcare service by letter, email or phone. Hospitals and healthcare services generally have someone who receives and acts on patient feedback (for example, a consumer liaison officer, safety and quality officer, or complaints officer). You can also contact other organisations, such as your local consumer association, state or territory healthcare complaints commission or health ombudsman, or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.