The annual British Social Attitudes survey reveals that satisfaction with the NHS has fallen from 70% last year to 58%. This marks the largest fall in three decades. The survey sampled 1,000 adults between July and November last year.
However, this drop in satisfaction may not reflect a fall in NHS service quality. The BSA only found slight drops in satisfaction with inpatient, outpatient and accident and emergency services. The slump may be down to the timing of the survey. The period that the survey was carried out coincided with a difficult political atmosphere last year when coverage of the coalition health reforms was negative.
The government has been performing its own telephone survey since 2000. Its ratings have generally been higher than then BSA’s. In May, it showed that 69% of people were satisfied with the running of the NHS.
The Health Minister, Simon Burns said: “The British Social Attitudes survey targets the general public rather than targeting people that have actually used the NHS, so responses are influenced by other factors. By its nature, it is not as accurate a picture as the data from patients.” (The Guardian, June 12)
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