Public Satisfaction with National Health Service at 11-Year Low

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: A doctor at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham does his rounds on the wards on June 14, 2006 in Birmingham, England. Senior managers of the NHS have said that the organisation needs to become more open in the future. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Christopher Furlong/Getty

The British public’s satisfaction with the National Health Service (NHS) is at an 11-year low, with people’s biggest complaint being waiting times for appointments.

The British Social Attitudes survey found that just 53 per cent of the 2,926 people they polled between July and October 2018 were satisfied with the NHS — a three percentage point drop from the year before and the lowest approval rating since 2007.

Four of the main reasons people gave for being dissatisfied were long waiting times for GP or hospital appointments (53 per cent), followed by not enough staff (52 per cent), lack of funding (49 per cent), and one-third identifying money being wasted.

Satisfaction with GP services was found to be at 63 per cent — the lowest level since the survey began in 1983.

The responses related to waiting times and GP services comes after a separate study revealed that one in four Britons are on a waiting list for an appointment, three in ten of which are on a waiting list to see a GP, whilst another one in three is waiting to see a specialist physician after having been referred by their general practice doctor.

According to the Benenden Health and Medical survey reported by The Sun last week, three in ten people have had their appointment cancelled whilst on an NHS waiting list, with around half not being informed why.

The British Social Attitudes survey also revealed that the satisfaction rate for accident and emergency was at just 53 per cent — the results coming as NHS England is considering scrapping the four-hour minimum waiting time at A&E.

Analysis published by the BBC in November 2018 revealed that one-fifth of NHS hospitals failed to meet any waiting time targets, including for A&E, cancer treatment, and routine operations, for the previous year.

In the year that the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday, it was revealed that the British health service was one of the Western world’s worst at preventing avoidable deaths.

The report, entitled How good is the NHS?, said the medical service’s “main weakness is health care outcomes. The UK appears to perform less well than similar countries on the overall rate at which people die when successful medical care could have saved their lives.”

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