British public satisfaction with the NHS lowest in 25 years – our response

More people in England, Scotland and Wales are now dissatisfied (41%) with the NHS than are satisfied for the first time since 2002, according to a report from King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust.
Women walking outside a hospital

The findings show the lowest levels of satisfaction with GPs (38%), dentists (33%), A&E (39%) and both hospital inpatient (41%) and outpatient (49%) services since it began tracking public attitudes.

People strongly support the founding principles of the NHS: that it is funded by general taxation and available free of charge. They also remain happy with the quality of care they receive and with the attitude and behaviour of staff they encounter when being treated.

Louise Ansari, National Director at Healthwatch England said:

“With the NHS facing pressures across the whole system, these findings are not a reflection on how hard the NHS is working, but an important reality check about people’s current satisfaction with the service they are getting – something decision makers just can’t afford to ignore.

Our own findings show that people recognise the pressure health services are under as they seek to recover from the pandemic. However, people are increasingly concerned about the changes to how they access GP services, the backlog of elective care, the shortage of NHS dental appointments, and the impact the delays to care are having on their health and wellbeing. 

For example, access to NHS dental care has been one of the most significant issues raised with us over the last two years, with four in five people telling us they had struggled to see an NHS dentist.

And it is often the most vulnerable people in our society, including children, disabled people and those living on low incomes, who are suffering the most. 

As we recover from the pandemic, services need to work hand in hand with people to create a healthcare system that is sustainable and designed around patients’ needs.”

The representative survey of 3,112 Britons was undertaken in September and October last year by National Centre for Social Research.

As we recover from the pandemic, services need to work hand in hand with people to create a healthcare system that is sustainable and designed around patients’ needs.
— Louise Ansari, National Director at Healthwatch England