General practice is the NHS service that the public are most satisfied by, according to a survey carried out by NatCen Social Research.
The British Social Attitudes survey of over 2000 people found that 69% of people said that they were satisfied with the service they received from general practices, higher than any other branch of the NHS. However, this is the lowest rate recorded since the survey began in 1983. Overall satisfaction with the health service declined by 5%, from 65% in 2014 to 60% in 2015. Overall dissatisfaction with the NHS rose by 8% to 23%, a similar level as that recorded in 2013.
‘The latest survey underlines the high value the British public places on the quality of care the NHS provides and its availability free at the point of use,’ said John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund.
The survey also examined why people felt satisfied or dissatisfied with the NHS for the first time. It found that the biggest reasons for public satisfaction were the quality of care provided, the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use, and the range of services and treatments available. However, 55% of people blamed waiting times for GP and hospital appointments for their dissatisfaction, while 44% and 39% said it was due to not enough staff and under-funding, respectively.
‘It is no surprise to find that dissatisfaction is driven by waiting times for appointments and perceptions of underfunding and staff shortages,’ added Mr Appleby. ‘However, it is also apparent that people’s perceptions are influenced by their views about a range of factors including politics, policy and public institutions, as well as by their own experience of the NHS.’
The British Social Attitudes survey has been asking the public about their views on the NHS and health and care since 1983. The latest survey was carried out between July and October 2015 and asked more than 2000 people about their satisfaction with the NHS overall and more than 1000 people about their satisfaction with individual NHS services. More detail from the survey will be published by NatCen Social Research in summer 2016.