Overall satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to an all-time low with more people dissatisfied than satisfied for the first time.
Discontent has doubled in just two years as patients struggle to get to doctors, dentists and ambulances, according to a survey of British social attitudes.
The ‘gold standard’ poll of 3,362 people in England, Wales and Scotland has been tracking public opinion continuously since 1983 and is now in its 40th year.
It shows that less than one in three people (29 per cent) are satisfied with the NHS overall – down from 36 per cent the previous year and 70 per cent in 2010.
The decline was recorded across all ages, income groups, gender and supporters of different political parties.
Discontent has doubled in just two years as patients struggle to get to doctors, dentists and ambulances, according to a survey of British social attitudes. The ‘gold standard’ poll of 3,362 people in England, Wales and Scotland has tracked public opinion continuously since 1983 and is now in its 40th year.
Meanwhile, overall dissatisfaction has increased from 25 percent in 2020 to 51 percent now.
Experts say the results should be a “siren’s call” and believe Rishi Sunak is out of business if he is to achieve his goal of restoring services before the general election.
It comes as 7.2 million people are on NHS waiting lists after care was severely disrupted during the pandemic.
The National Center for Social Research (NatCen) surveyed research aggregators Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund in September and October last year.
It reveals satisfaction falling to an all-time low in every single area of care examined, including dental, general practice, A&E, inpatient and outpatient.
More than two-thirds of respondents (69 per cent) said that long waiting times for GP and hospital appointments is one of the top reasons for dissatisfaction.
Understaffing was second, at 55 percent.
Forty percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with A&E services, an increase of 11 percentage points from the previous year and the largest increase in a single year since the question about A&E services was asked in 1999.
Data from NHS England shows the number of people awaiting routine hospital treatment jumped by 13,000 in January to 7.21 million. The record means there are 64 per cent more people stuck in a waiting list, often in pain, than there were before Covid hit.
Only 30 percent of people said they were satisfied with A&E services.
Satisfaction with GP services fell to a record low of 35 percent in 2022, down from 38 percent in 2021.
Satisfaction with NHS dentistry also fell to a record low of 27 per cent, with dissatisfaction increasing to a record low of 42 per cent.
Around 24 per cent of respondents said they were ‘not completely satisfied’ with NHS dentistry – higher than any of the other health services included in the survey.
Despite the overall decrease in satisfaction, the authors said that overall adherence to NHS principles was “undiminished” with the majority of people agreeing that the service should be free at the point of use; Available to all and financed primarily through taxes.
However, as the cost-of-living crisis dragged on, more people said the service should operate within its current budget rather than receive more money from a tax hike.
Jessica Morris, author of the report and fellow at Nuffield Trust, said: ‘The fact that we now have the lowest level of satisfaction with the NHS in the 40-year history of this Gold Standard survey is a siren.
The UK Social Attitudes Survey 2022 indicates an ongoing and growing concern about every part of the health service.
The Prime Minister has made restoring the NHS one of his central promises in the upcoming general election, but these results show what a formidable task it will be.
“It is clear that the level of unhappiness among the British public over the way the NHS operates will take many years to recover.”
Dan Wellings, author of the report and senior fellow at The King’s Fund, added: ‘The public can see for themselves the results of more than a decade of underfunding and lack of workforce planning.
People struggle to get the care they need, especially in emergency situations, which is evident in the extraordinary rise in dissatisfaction with A&E services.
Hospitals in England carried out nearly 290,000 procedures in January, meaning performance fell by eight per cent over the three-year period. The pre-pandemic average was about 305,000 per month
Significant pressures in emergency departments are symptomatic of challenges across the board, with every service covered in the survey experiencing record low levels of satisfaction.
Even as satisfaction has fallen to an all-time low, support for the founding principles of the NHS remains strong. The public doesn’t want a different model of health care, they just want the current model to work.
He added, “The relief ebbs and flows, but the faith in the foundation is just as steadfast.
It’s still the kind of thing that makes us proud to be British but these results are very clear – it just doesn’t work for large numbers of people right now.
“I think that behind the numbers, there are people who are really struggling to get care, support and access for themselves or their family members.”
He said the findings should set off “loud and persistent alarm bells in the halls of energy”, adding: “This is as bad as I’ve seen in the NHS poll”.
Mark Dayan, of the Nuffield Trust, added: “Across the board we now have people who are more dissatisfied than satisfied with how the UK health service is run.
There has been a sharp decline in satisfaction and a sharp increase in dissatisfaction in the past two years.
MailOnline looked at the performance of 133 NHS trusts in England and compared the number of procedures they performed among patients referred for elective treatment in January this month against the same month in 2020. Only 29 institutions were performing more than they did before Covid. University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (top left), which figures suggest saw the biggest drop, underperformed at just 2,170 at the start of this year. For comparison, I managed 4,278 during the same month three years ago
“Unfortunately, I don’t expect a quick recovery in any of these, and there is a good chance it could get worse.”
“These sad but important findings show public frustration with the status quo around health and social care and should act as a red flag for government,” said Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS organisations.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘We are extremely grateful to the NHS and social care staff for their fantastic work including during the pandemic and the progress they have made to address the resulting backlog.
Cutting waiting lists is one of the prime minister’s five priorities and so far we have effectively eliminated waiting periods of more than two years for treatment, and the latest figures show the number of patients waiting more than 18 months has fallen by 80 percent from the peak.
We have conducted 3.3 million tests, scans and screenings to screen for cancer and other conditions as early as possible through 94 Community Diagnostic Centers and more will be launched this year.
“At the same time, we are investing up to £14.1 billion in health and social care over the next two years to support the workforce and ensure patients receive high-quality care.”