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Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2016: Results and trends from the British Social Attitudes survey

Since 1983, NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey has asked members of the public – rather than only patients – about their views on, and feelings towards, the NHS and health and care issues generally. The latest survey was carried out between July and October 2016 and asked a nationally representative sample of nearly 3,000 people about their satisfaction with the NHS overall, and of nearly 1,000 people about their satisfaction with individual NHS services.

Below we summarise the headline results. More detail from the survey will be published by NatCen Social Research in summer 2017.

Key findings

• Public satisfaction with the NHS overall was 63 per cent in 2016. The change in satisfaction since 2015 was not statistically significant.
• Satisfaction with GP services was 72 per cent and, as in previous years, was higher than satisfaction with any other NHS service. Again, the change in
satisfaction since 2015 was not statistically significant.
• Satisfaction with NHS dentistry services was 61 per cent in 2016, up by 7 percentage points from 2015. This is one of the highest levels of public satisfaction with these services since the early 1990s.
• Satisfaction with social care services was 26 per cent, unchanged since 2015 and far lower than satisfaction with NHS services. Social care is the only service to have a negative net satisfaction score.
• Satisfaction with outpatient services was 68 per cent in 2016. The change in satisfaction from 2015 was not statistically significant.
• Satisfaction with inpatient services was 60 per cent in 2016. The change in satisfaction since 2015 was not statistically significant.
• Satisfaction with accident and emergency (A&E) services was 54 per cent in 2016. Again, the change in satisfaction from 2015 was not statistically significant.
• Overall satisfaction with the NHS was higher among people aged 75 years or older (74 per cent) than among people under 65 (between 59 and 62 per cent).
• The three main reasons people gave for being satisfied with the NHS overall were: the quality of care, the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use, and the range of services and treatments available.
• The three main reasons that people gave for being dissatisfied with the health service were: long waiting times, staff shortages and lack of funding.