Public satisfaction with the NHS stabilised last year after a record fall in 2011, according to British Social Attitudes survey data published by The King’s Fund.
Satisfaction with the way the NHS runs now stands at 61 per cent, the third highest level since the survey began in 1983. This follows a record fall in satisfaction, from 70 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2011, when the survey coincided with the first year in a four year NHS spending squeeze and sustained media coverage about the government’s NHS reforms.
The survey also measured satisfaction with individual services. Satisfaction with A&E services increased by 5 percentage points from 54 to 59 per cent while satisfaction with outpatient services (64 per cent) and inpatient services (52 per cent) showed no real change from 2011.
Satisfaction with GP services (74 per cent) and dentists (56 per cent) are also unchanged. In contrast to the high levels of satisfaction with the NHS, satisfaction with social care services was much lower, at only 30 per cent.
John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund, said: “The British Social Attitudes survey has provided an important barometer of how the public views the NHS since 1983. With no real change in satisfaction with the NHS in 2012, this suggests the record fall in 2011 was not a blip and that the ground lost may take some time to recover.”
The main question asked in the survey was ‘All in all, how satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the way in which the National Health Service runs nowadays?’. Satisfaction was judged by those who answered ‘very’ and ‘quite’.
The survey was undertaken by NatCen Social Research, with the majority of interviews taking place between July and September 2012. The sample size for the health questions was 1,103. Interviews were carried out face-to-face with a random sample of adults. The data is weighted to ensure it is representative of the general population.