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British Social Attitudes survey: Satisfaction with GP services drops to all-time low

Dissatisfaction with the NHS increases to its highest level since 2007 according to annual study

Dissatisfaction with the NHS increases to its highest level since 2007 according to annual study

Public dissatisfaction with the NHS due to understaffing has got worse, according to a new survey.

The British Social Attitudes annual survey showed that between 2015 and 2017 the proportion of people who were dissatisfied because there ‘are not enough NHS staff’ increased from 44% to 52%.

Public satisfaction with the NHS overall was 57% in 2017 – a 6% drop from the previous year. At the same time, dissatisfaction with the NHS overall increased by 7% to 29% – its highest level since 2007.

Satisfaction with GP services fell to 65% in 2017, the lowest levels since the survey began in 1983.

Although a total of 44% were very or quite satisfied with the attitudes and behaviour of NHS staff, the four main

Dissatisfaction with the NHS increases to its highest level since 2007 according to annual study


Picture: Alamy

Public dissatisfaction with the NHS due to understaffing has got worse, according to a new survey.

The British Social Attitudes annual survey showed that between 2015 and 2017 the proportion of people who were dissatisfied because there ‘are not enough NHS staff’ increased from 44% to 52%.

Public satisfaction with the NHS overall was 57% in 2017 – a 6% drop from the previous year. At the same time, dissatisfaction with the NHS overall increased by 7% to 29% – its highest level since 2007.

Satisfaction with GP services fell to 65% in 2017, the lowest levels since the survey began in 1983.

Although a total of 44% were very or quite satisfied with the attitudes and behaviour of NHS staff, the four main reasons that people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS overall were:

  • staff shortages
  • long waiting times
  • lack of funding
  • government reforms

The 2017 survey consisted of 3,988 interviews with a representative sample of adults in England, Scotland and Wales. It was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research and analysed by the Nuffield Trust and the King's Fund think tanks.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘Ministers must act urgently on public concerns over NHS understaffing. The shortages are beginning to bite and that is reflected in this research. The evidence shows that patient care standards rise and fall with the number of nurses.

‘There are 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in England alone and this is only getting worse. Despite repeated warnings, successive governments have failed to draw up a national workforce plan that guarantees our supply of nurses. As this survey makes clear, it is patients and their families who suffer the consequences.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'Just last year the NHS was rated as the best and safest health system in the world by independent experts, and as this report itself points out, the majority of patients are satisfied with the NHS.

'Moreover, the number of staff who would recommend the care their organisation provides to their own family has never been higher.'


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