OBJECTIVE: To evaluate patients' views on the process and outcome of day surgery in Scotland, and to study patients' satisfaction with care in a range of specific procedures. DESIGN: Questionnaires completed by a census of day case surgery patients within a band of 25 procedures under the umbrella of five broad groups: (1) general surgery; (2) urology; (3) gynaecology; (4) orthopaedics; (5) ear, nose, and throat; ophthalmology. SETTING: 13 hospitals in six health board areas in Scotland. SUBJECTS: During the period 1995-6, 5069 day case patients were asked to complete a questionnaire within two weeks of their operation and discharge from hospital. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Arrangements before admission; immediate postoperative symptoms and complications; problems experienced after discharge; readmission after discharge. RESULTS: A response rate of 68% was obtained from 13 sites ranging from 43% to 82%. The overall satisfaction score was 85. A total of 894 patients (26%) experienced pain after surgery and 783 (23%) had relatively minor medical problems after discharge. In total, 265 (7.8%) patients were readmitted to hospital after discharge. Few notable differences existed between specialties or hospitals in terms of satisfaction scores, although notable pain was experienced more frequently in gynaecology and general surgery patients. Readmission was more common for urological procedures. CONCLUSION: Overall, patient satisfaction with day case surgery was high. Dissatisfaction was largely related to waiting times between admission, operation, and discharge. The amount of pain experienced also had a notable impact on the level of patient satisfaction. Day surgery is not without complications, with 26% of patients experiencing notable degrees of pain; 23% having minor medical problems after discharge; and 8% of respondents having to reattend hospital with problems relating to their original operations.
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