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BSA report unveils NHS downvotes: Record 84 % low satisfaction

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Public dissatisfaction with NHS highlights need “for shorter waits for care”, “better staffing levels”, and “more funding”

A recent survey conducted by the British Society Attitudes (BSA) and published by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust highlighted people’s satisfaction with the National Health Services (NHS) to be a new record low since the survey’s inception in 1983.

The latest findings that are based on the public satisfaction and opinion with the NHS and social care, and funding in the context of prominent national debate about taxation and healthcare spending reveal the satisfaction with the NHS to have dwindled across all services and demographics in 2023.

Public contentment has sharply declined, with only 24 per cent expressing satisfaction in 2023, a significant drop from 2020.

Factors contributing to this dissatisfaction include prolonged waiting times for GP and hospital appointments, staffing shortages, and perceived inadequate government spending.

These findings highlight widespread concerns about funding issues within the NHS, with 84 per cent of respondents identifying a major or severe problem.

Moreover, the majority of participants advocate for increased taxes and greater investment in the healthcare system to address these pressing challenges.

In addition to declining satisfaction with the NHS, social care services also face significant discontent, with a mere 13 per cent of respondents expressing satisfaction.

According to the survey, a gold-standard measure of public attitudes in Britain, respondents have “prioritised improving access to GP appointments and increasing staffing levels as key areas requiring immediate attention”.

Additionally, the top reason for dissatisfaction amongst the respondents with social care was “inadequate pay, working conditions and training for social care workers at 57 per cent, closely followed by people not getting all the social care they needed, and lack of enough support for unpaid carers”.

Dan Wellings, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, described the results as “depressing but sadly not surprising,” highlighting the NHS’s inability to meet expectations.

“The public are clear that they want shorter waits for care, better staffing levels and more funding. With the health service increasingly unable to meet the expectations and needs of those who rely on it, public satisfaction with the NHS is now in uncharted territory.”, he added.

Jessica Morris, Fellow at The Nuffield Trust, warned of record-low satisfaction across various NHS services and urged political leaders to be frank and realistic about the challenges ahead of them if they are to turn this situation around.”

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