Public satisfaction with GP services has fallen to the lowest level in 30 years and dissatisfaction with the NHS overall has reached its highest level for a decade, according to authoritative polling.
Voters are increasingly concerned about staff shortages in the NHS, long waits to receive care and the amount of money given to health services. The research findings are from the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey into people’s opinions about the NHS, collected by the National Centre for Social Research.
Only 65% of the representative sample of 3,004 people in England, Scotland and Wales questioned last autumn were satisfied with GP services, the lowest percentage since records began in 1983. That is sharply down on the 80% satisfaction rating seen as recently as 2009. Satisfaction fell by 7% between 2016 and 2017 alone in what experts said reflected public frustration at the increasing difficulty in getting a timely GP appointment.
Ruth Robertson, a fellow at the King’s Fund health thinktank, which analysed the BSA findings alongside the Nuffield Trust, said they threatened general practice’s longstanding international reputation as “the jewel in the crown of the NHS”. “The data sends out an unmistakeable message that general practice is in decline,” she said. The fall in satisfaction was seen across all age groups.