NHS public satisfaction at record low

The British Social Attitudes survey has revealed that public satisfaction with the NHS   has reached the lowest level ever recorded.

Only 29 per cent of people said they were satisfied with the NHS in 2022 - seven percentage points lower than last year.

In 2010, satisfaction was at 70 per cent.

51 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with the NHS, which is the highest proportion since the survey began.

The main reason people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS was waiting times for GP and hospital appointments (69 per cent), this was followed by staff shortages (55 per cent) and a view that the government does not spend enough money on the NHS (50 per cent).

Those who were satisfied with the NHS citied that NHS care is free at the point of use (74 per cent), the quality of NHS care (55 per cent) and that it has a good range of services and treatments available (49 per cent).

Responding to the results, an NHS spokesperson said: “While this survey reflects the public’s perceptions of the significant pressure on our services, it is clear the overwhelming majority still very firmly value the fundamental principles of the NHS – which is welcome as we head towards the NHS’ 75th birthday.

“Importantly, even with more people accessing our services than ever before, it also shows strong satisfaction with the range of services and the quality of care patients receive, which is a testament to our hardworking, dedicated staff working across all corners of the NHS.

“However, there is no doubt that the NHS has been under sustained pressure in recent months which has impacted the experiences of patients – at the time this survey was carried out, staff had just treated more people with Covid-19 in hospital over the summer than the past two combined, GPs were delivering millions more appointments each month compared to before the pandemic, and it was the busiest October ever for A&E attendances and the most serious ambulance call-outs.

“The NHS is taking significant steps to further improve patient experience, including our recently-launched blueprint to recover urgent and emergency care alongside continuing to slash the long waits for elective treatment which inevitably built up during the pandemic, and we are working on new plans to boost primary care for patients as well as publishing a long-term workforce strategy shortly.”