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Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2021: British Social Attitudes survey

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Analysis of NatCen’s 2021 British Social Attitudes survey by Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund shows a huge and unprecedented drop in public satisfaction with the NHS and its individual services, despite widespread support for the fundamental principles of the health service.

Overall satisfaction with the NHS fell to 36% – an unprecedented 17 percentage point decrease on 2020. This is the lowest level of satisfaction recorded since 1997, when satisfaction fell to 34%. More people (41%) were dissatisfied with the NHS than satisfied. This fall in satisfaction was seen across all ages, income groups, sexes and supporters of different political parties. The main reason people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS overall was waiting times for GP and hospital appointments (65%) followed by staff shortages (46%) and a view that the government does not spend enough money on the NHS (40%). Of those who were satisfied with the NHS overall, the top reason was because the NHS is free at the point of use (78%), followed by the quality of NHS care (65%) and that it has a good range of services (58%).

The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust jointly sponsored the 2021 BSA survey questions.

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