Public dissatisfied by NHS staff shortages

Almost half of those surveyed said there was not enough staff, but public were happy with attitudes and behaviour of NHS workers


Staff shortages are the second most cited reason for dissatisfaction with the NHS, a survey has found.

The British Social Attitudes survey published by The King’s Fund found that 44% of those surveyed said there was not enough NHS staff. More than half of respondents (55%) cited that the reason for their dissatisfaction  was that it takes too long to get a GP or hospital appointment. 

Public satisfaction with the NHS had fallen by 5% from last year to 60% in 2015, according to the survey.

Satisfaction with the NHS peaked in 2010 at 70%. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction increased from 15% to 23% from 2014 to 2015 – the largest single-year increase since the survey began in 1983.

The survey, conducted by NatCen Social Research, found that overall 61% of people were content with the quality of NHS care provided, 59% were satisfied with the NHS being free at the point of use and 54% were happy with the range of services and treatments available.

A total of 42% of those surveyed said they were happy with the attitudes and behaviour of NHS staff.

The King’s Fund chief economist John Appleby said: ‘The British Social Attitudes Survey has traditionally been seen as a barometer of how well the NHS is performing.

‘It is no surprise to find that dissatisfaction is driven by waiting times for appointments and perceptions of underfunding and staff shortages.’

A government spokesman said: ‘There is pressure on the NHS as our population ages, and that’s why the government is investing record amounts to transform care.

‘This survey shows that satisfaction with services fell by nearly twice as much in Scotland as in England, and that public satisfaction in England is higher than in Wales.’

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