Public satisfaction with GP services drops to lowest level since 1980s

Public satisfaction with GP services drop to lowest level since 1980s

The survey has been tracking public opinion of the NHS since 1983

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Public satisfaction with GP services has dropped to the lowest level since the 1980s, a survey has found.

The latest British Social Attitudes survey, based on 4,000 responses, found that satisfaction with family doctor services, usually seen as the "jewel in the crown" of the NHS, has fallen to its lowest level in 35 years.

Just 65% of people said they were satisfied with GP services, the lowest level since the survey began. It is now no longer the highest-rated service, with the same satisfaction rate as the often-criticsed outpatient services.

The survey, which has been tracking public opinion of the NHS since 1983, polled 3,000 people across England, Wales and Scotland about their satisfaction with the NHS overall and 1,000 people about their feelings on individual service.

The authors found that public dissatisfaction with the NHS as a whole is on the rise, with just 57% of respondents professing themselves happy with the NHS - the lowest level since 2011.

Meanwhile, dissatisfaction in the NHS has risen to 29%, the highest in a decade, according to the research published by health think tanks The Nuffield Trust and The King's Fund.

Reasons behind the drop in dissatisfaction with the NHS overall include long waiting times for GP or hospital appointments, a lack of Government investment and inadequate staffing levels, experts said.

An NHS England spokesman said: "While it is encouraging that for the second year in a row public concerns about waits have reduced, and public confidence that the NHS is using its funding well has again increased, these results understandably reflect a health service under pressure.

"With public satisfaction scores ranging from 65% for GPs to 23% for social care, these findings again confirm the public's enduring support for the NHS and the measures necessary to sustain it."

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "To be clear, the results of this survey are for the whole of Great Britain and are not Wales-specific. The most recent National Survey for Wales found that 91% of people were satisfied with the care they received at their last NHS hospital appointment and 90% were satisfied with the care they received from a GP."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "A YouGov poll earlier this month found patient satisfaction with the NHS in Scotland was 93%, rising to 97% among those aged over 65.

"Health spending per head in Scotland is 7.5% higher than in England, with overall spending and staffing levels at record-high levels, and we have plans to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over 10 years to ensure a sustainable service that meets increasing demand."

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care, which is responsible for the health and social care system in England, 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.