NHS satisfaction levels at lowest in over a decade

Lincolnshire hospital, photo: Harry Dowde

A survey sponsored by the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund has found that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level in over ten years.

The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey found that general levels of satisfaction have dropped to 53%. This represents a three percent decrease in satisfaction in the last year, and is the lowest level of satisfaction since 2007.

Of the near 3000 people surveyed between July and October 2018, a third of those who said they were dissatisfied with the NHS (305) were further asked to give three reasons as to why they were dissatisfied.

53% of those surveyed found GP, Accident and Emergency and Ambulance wait times to be the most dissatisfying factor.

Similarly, 52 percent of those surveyed said that staffing was one of the primary reasons for dissatisfaction. The number of people dissatisfied with staffing has also increased since 2015, and with projected gaps between staff needed and the number available expected to be around 250,000 by 2030, this could become an even greater problem if predictions are correct.

Healthwatch Lincolnshire’s Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Fletcher, highlighted this saying: “…recruitment of medical staff into Lincolnshire has been an ongoing problem for many years.  Whilst there has been and still is a lot of innovative work being done by the Lincolnshire Medical Committee and other NHS organisations with overseas recruitment programmes into Lincolnshire, the number of current medical staff due to retire in the next few years is significant.”

The report also found that the number of people citing the lack of government spending as being dissatisfying had increased since 2015, with 49% saying it was one of the main areas of concern. Funding for the Department of Health has grown every year, though the rate of this growth has significantly slowed down.

Accident and Emergency – Photo by Harry Dowde

A spokesperson for the United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust said: “Over the last year we have seen more patients using our emergency services, often above national increases, which has placed pressure on all of our hospitals. We have started to implement a comprehensive improvement programme with support from our national as well as local health and social care partners to address this.”

“If you do become unwell and need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency, call NHS 111 for clinical advice, assessment and for direction to the most appropriate services for treatment.”