New research – public NHS satisfaction levels rise with dissatisfaction levels at all time low

Research suggests satisfaction levels with the NHS are on the up – rising from 60 to 65 per cent  – while dissatisfaction levels dropped to an all-time low of 15 per cent.

The British Social Attitudes survey, carried out on behalf of health charity the King’s Fund, is seen as an important temperature check on how the public is feeling about the NHS.

A total of 1,939 people took part in the survey carried out between August and November 2014 and were asked, ‘All in all, how satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the way in which the National Health Service runs nowadays?’

Satisfaction as reported here aggregates those who answer ‘very’ and ‘quite’ satisfied.

Those with recent personal experience of the NHS recorded higher levels of satisfaction, an increase by 4 percentage points from 2013 to 2014, while those who had no recent contact with the NHS, either personally or through friends or family members, recorded a jump of 11 percentage points.

Simon Stevens, NHS England’s Chief Executive, highlighted the results at the organisation’s public board meeting, saying they were a tribute to NHS staff.

Findings from the survey on specific services show:

  • while GP services remain the most popular NHS service in terms of satisfaction, the satisfaction rating of 71 per cent in 2014 was the lowest since the survey began
  • satisfaction with outpatient services is at an all-time high of 69 per cent
  • accident and emergency (A&E) services experienced an increase in satisfaction to 58 per cent, from last year’s low point of 53 per cent
  • satisfaction with dentists remained lower than with other NHS services, with 54 per cent of respondents satisfied with the service
  • satisfaction with social care services is far lower than with the NHS, with just 31 per cent of respondents satisfied with social care and 30 per cent being dissatisfied.

About the British Social Attitudes survey

The survey was undertaken by NatCen Social Research and sponsored by the King’s Fund with interviews taking place between August and November 2014. The sample size for the overall NHS satisfaction question was 1,937. Interviews were carried out with a random sample of adults. The data is weighted to ensure it is representative of the general population.

The British Social Attitudes survey is owned and directed by NatCen Social Research, and has been conducted every year since 1983 with the exception of 1988 and 1992. The NHS is one among a number of topics covered by the survey. This is the fourth year that The King’s Fund has sponsored health questions in the survey.