NHS public satisfaction slumps
MedWire News: Public satisfaction with the NHS plummeted between 2010 and 2011, the latest British Social Attitudes Survey shows.
Published today by the King's Fund, the survey revealed that the proportion of people satisfied with the way the health service runs fell from 70% to 58% over this period.
The King's Fund says this is the largest fall since the yearly survey began in 1983.
For GP services, which have traditionally had high satisfaction rates, the data show that after falling from a high of 80% in 2009 to 77% in 2010, satisfaction dropped a further 4% to 73% in 2011.
The report also showed that there was a sharp fall in satisfaction among supporters of all three main political parties, suggesting that attitudes have been influenced by issues other than simple partisanship.
It concludes that concern about the Government's health reforms, reaction to funding pressures and ministerial rhetoric to justify the reforms "may have combined to dent public confidence".
Chief Economist at the King's Fund John Appleby said it was unsurprising that recent year-on-year increases in satisfaction with the NHS have ended at a time when the NHS is facing spending cuts.
But he added: "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."
MedWire News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012
By Caroline Price