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Public satisfaction with the NHS slumps to record low, shows survey

Fewer than one in four (24%) people were satisfied with the NHS in 2023, the lowest level since records began in 1983, according to the British Social Attitudes poll

Satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years, according to a report of the British Social Attitudes poll, the country’s longest-running survey of public attitudes.

The report by the Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund found that just 24 per cent of 3374 respondents in England, Scotland and Wales said they were satisfied with the health service in 2023, a drop of 5 percentage points from the previous year.

Jessica Morris, author of the report and a fellow at the Nuffield Trust, said the findings should serve as a warning to politicians in the run-up to the general election expected later this year. ‘It is worrying how consistent this is across different NHS services, with inpatient, outpatient, dentistry and GP services reporting record low levels of satisfaction.’

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The survey showed the main reasons for dissatisfaction were waiting times for GP and hospital appointments (71%), followed by staff shortages (54%) and the Government not spending enough money on the NHS (47%).

When it comes to funding and priorities, ‘84% of people polled said they thought the NHS had a major or severe funding problem, and 48% of people thought ministers should increase taxes and spend more on the NHS,’ said Dan Wellings, co-author of the report and senior fellow at the King’s Fund.

Responding to the report, the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘We are making good progress in cutting waiting lists in England, which is one of the Prime Minister’s top priorities. Despite winter pressures and the impact of industrial action, overall NHS waiting lists have decreased for the fourth month in a row and we’ve delivered on our commitment to provide an extra 50mn GP appointments months ahead of schedule.’