Drop in public satisfaction with the NHS

  • Date: 12 February 2016

SATISFACTION with the NHS across the UK fell by five per cent in 2015 compared to the previous year, according data published by the King’s Fund.

The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey for 2015 found that the public's satisfaction with the health service fell to 60 per cent in 2015 which is now nine percentage points below its peak of 70 per cent in 2010. The survey found that dissatisfaction with the NHS increased by eight percentage points to 23 per cent in 2015, the largest single-year increase since the survey began in 1983.

Satisfaction with GP services is at 69 per cent which is the highest rating among the various services provided but this figure has dropped ten percentage point drops since 2009 and is the lowest rating for GPs since the survey began.

Satisfaction with dentistry is unchanged from 2014 with slightly more than half of respondents satisfied with the service (54 per cent). Inpatient services remained stable at 58 per cent, while 66 per cent of people were satisfied with outpatient services and satisfaction with A&E was 53 per cent.

Among the top drivers of satisfaction were quality of care provided (61 per cent), the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use (59 per cent) and the range of services and treatments available (54 per cent). The main reasons for dissatisfaction are waiting times for GP and hospital appointments (55 per cent), not enough staff (44 per cent) and under-funding (39 per cent).

The 2015 survey consisted of 4,328 interviews with a representative sample of adults in England, Scotland and Wales.

John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund, said: "The latest survey underlines the high value the British public places on the quality of care the NHS provides and its availability free at the point of use.

"It is no surprise to find that dissatisfaction is driven by waiting times for appointments and perceptions of underfunding and staff shortages. However, it is also apparent that people’s perceptions are influenced by their views about a range of factors including politics, policy and public institutions, as well as by their own experience of the NHS."

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