• Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Public satisfaction with NHS at all-time low, says survey

Only 24 per cent of respondents from England, Wales, and Scotland were satisfied with the NHS. Long waiting periods and staff shortages are their main concerns

Representational image (iStock)

By: Shajil Kumar

Public satisfaction with the NHS has plunged to a historic low with long waiting periods and staff shortages cited as main concerns, according to the British Social Attitudes survey.

Just 24 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with the NHS in 2023, and this is five percentage points down on last year and a steep drop from the 2010 high of 70 per cent satisfaction. Since 2020, satisfaction has fallen by 29 percentage points.

More than 3,000 people were polled by the National Centre for Social Research across England, Wales and Scotland. This poll has been running since 1983 and is considered the gold standard for gauging public opinion about the NHS.

The number of people who are dissatisfied with the NHS is also at an all-time high of 52 per cent. When asked about the reasons, 71 per cent of respondents said it took too long to get an appointment, while 54 per cent said the centres were understaffed.

Around 47 per cent felt the government was not spending enough money, while 32 per cent felt NHS was wasting money.

Satisfaction with GP services and NHS dental care has fallen to the lowest-ever level – just 24 per cent for both services.

However, an overwhelming majority felt the NHS should retain its founding principles. Around 91 per cent felt it should be free of charge when people need it while 82 per cent said that it should be funded primarily from taxation and available to everyone, regardless of income.

The Patients Association has expressed dismay about the survey findings and said years of mounting pressures, and the inability to reduce the waiting period, were taking a toll on NHS.

Rory Deighton, the NHS Confederation’s acute network director, told BBC that the figures “reflect exactly how people are feeling”.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting told The Guardian, “After 14 years of neglect, the NHS has never been in a worse state. Fewer than one in every four people say they are getting a good service, and who can blame them?

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