Public satisfaction with the NHS and its services

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The topline results and satisfaction trends relating to the NHS and health care issues from the British Social Attitudes survey 2013.

Latest public satisfaction survey

View the most recent results: British Social Attitudes survey 2014.


Since 1983, NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes survey has asked the public – rather than simply patients – about their views on and feelings towards the NHS and health care issues generally. The latest survey was carried out between June and September 2013. It presents a picture of the public’s satisfaction with the way in which the NHS runs and with important parts of its services, such as general practice (GP) services, inpatients and outpatients as well as satisfaction with social care provided by local authorities.

We found that there has been no change in levels of overall satisfaction with the NHS since 2011 although there have been changes in the public’s views on specific services. Below we give an overview of changes in satisfaction levels over time together with analyses of satisfaction by sub-groups of the population such as whether respondents had had recent contact with the NHS, age groups, political affiliation and country of residence.

For more on past satisfaction trends, see the results from the British Social Attitudes survey 2012.

Satisfaction with the NHS overall

Trends in satisfaction with the NHS since 1983 - British Social Attitudes 2013 dataWhile satisfaction levels have not recovered to the high of 70 per cent recorded in 2010, they remain high by historical standards. In only two of the past 30 years have satisfaction levels been greater than those recorded in 2012 and 2013.

Satisfaction with the NHS overall – see the results

Satisfaction with NHS and social care services

Satisfaction with social care in 2013 compared to other services - British Social Attitudes Survey data 2013Satisfaction with A&E services dropped by six per cent from 2012, its lowest level since 2008. In contrast, satisfaction with hospital outpatient services climbed to a record high of 67 per cent.

Satisfaction with NHS and social care services – see the results

Who is satisfied with the NHS?

Trends in satisfaction with the NHS by political party identification - British Social Attitudes 2013 data

We look at number of potential reasons for change in satisfaction, or, in the case of the 2013 result for satisfaction with the NHS overall, effectively no change.

The results of the BSA 2013 survey – our explanation