NHS sees further drop in public satisfaction

  • Date: 26 March 2019

PUBLIC satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level since 2007, according to analysis of the 2018 British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey.

Analysis published by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust found that patient satisfaction fell by 3 percentage points over 2018 to 53 per cent, its lowest level in over a decade and 16 percentage points below an historical peak of 70 per cent in 2010.

The drop came despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement last June of a £20bn long-term funding boost for the health service.

Public satisfaction with general practice remained at its lowest level since the survey began in 1983 (63 per cent). Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents reported being dissatisfied with their GP service – double the level of dissatisfaction in 2009.

Concerns over waiting times, NHS staff shortages and inadequate funding remained the top three reasons people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS in 2018, while care being "free at the point of use" remained one of the primary reasons people expressed satisfaction with the NHS (62 per cent).

Satisfaction with NHS dentistry (58 per cent), accident and emergency departments (53 per cent) and social care (26 per cent) did not change significantly between 2017 and 2018.

Ruth Robertson, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund commented: "Despite the outpouring of public affection around the NHS’s 70th birthday and the Prime Minister’s “gift” of a funding boost, public satisfaction with how the NHS is run now stands at its lowest level in over a decade. In the short term at least, the promise of more money doesn’t appear to buy satisfaction.

"The public identified long-standing issues such as staff shortages and waiting times amongst the main reasons for their dissatisfaction and cash alone will not solve these."

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