The Government’s controversial NHS reforms have resulted in public satisfaction levels on the way the NHS is run fall by 12% in the last year, a new survey has shown.
The British Social Attitudes Survey showed how public satisfaction fell from 70% in 2010 to 58% in 2011 after the reforms came under increased scrutiny by the media and public.
John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund – who sponsored the survey’s health questions – said he was shocked how quickly satisfaction levels had reduced.
The study questioned more than 1,000 people between July and November last year. It found that satisfaction with individual services also fell by 4% for GPs, 5% for inpatient services, 6% for outpatient services and 7% for A&E services.
Although the survey found the NHS to be performing well in other areas, The King’s Fund said the levels of satisfaction had been influenced by the Government’s reforms, publicised funding pressures and ministerial rhetoric.
“It is not surprising this has happened when the NHS is facing a well-publicised spending squeeze,” said Mr Appleby. “Nevertheless, it is something of a shock that it has fallen so significantly. This will be a concern to the Government, given it appears to be closely linked with the debate on its NHS reforms.”
Mike Farrar, NHS Confederation Chief Executive, said it was “really important” politicians and NHS leaders are “engaging the public in the major debate about the NHS” to improve satisfaction levels.
“The NHS has got to respond to massive financial pressure and the changing nature of health and social care in a way that takes patients and the public with us,” he said. “It will be much harder to make the changes to services necessary if public perception and confidence deteriorates.”
Public satisfaction with the NHS had risen steadily over the previous decade before the most recent findings – the biggest fall in a year since the survey began in 1983.