Satisfaction with NHS and social care services – results

British Social Attitudes also asks people how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with some specific services.

Latest public satisfaction survey

View the most recent results: British Social Attitudes survey 2015.

Trends in satisfaction with GP and NHS dentistry services

Figure 3 shows trends for satisfaction with GP and NHS dentistry services. Satisfaction with GP services has traditionally been high – ranging from a low of 71 per cent in 2001 to 80 per cent in 2009. In recent years satisfaction has declined slightly, to 74 per cent in 2012.

By contrast, and apart from one year (2000), satisfaction with dentistry had been in long-term decline until 2009, when satisfaction increased from 42 per cent (in 2008) to 48 per cent, increasing to 56 per cent in 2011. This recovery has not continued into 2012, when satisfaction remained flat at 56 per cent.

*Question asked: 'From your own experience, or from what you have heard, please say how satisfied
or dissatisfied you are with the way in which each of these parts of the National Health Service runs
nowadays. First, local doctors or GPs?... National Health Service dentists?'
NB: Question not asked in 1984, 1985, 1988, 1992 and 1997
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Trends in satisfaction with inpatient, outpatient, and accident and emergency services

Figure 4 shows trends in satisfaction for three hospital-based services: inpatients, outpatients, and accident and emergency (A&E). As with NHS dentistry, satisfaction with inpatients declined steadily from 1983 through to 2006 and then increased steadily to nearly 60 per cent in 2010. In 2011, however, satisfaction with inpatients declined, and, alone among the other NHS services, it fell again in 2012 to 52 per cent.

On the other hand, satisfaction with both outpatient and accident and emergency services rose in 2012. Satisfaction with A&E rose to 59 per cent, one of the highest levels recorded by the British Social Attitudes survey and a statistically significant increase from 2011. Moreover, for the first time, satisfaction with A&E is significantly higher than satisfaction with inpatient services. Satisfaction with outpatients now stands at 64 per cent – its third highest level since 1983 – a small and statistically insignificant increase since 2011 (61 per cent).

*Question asked: 'From your own experience, or from what you have heard, please say how satisfied
or dissatisfied you are with the way in which each of these parts of the National Health Service runs
nowadays... being in hospital as an inpatient... attending hospital as an outpatient? ... Accident and
emergency departments?'
NB: Question not asked in 1984, 1985, 1988, 1992 and 1997
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Satisfaction with social care in 2012 compared to satisfaction with NHS services

Figure 5 brings together the 2012 results for satisfaction (and dissatisfaction) with the NHS overall and with its separate services. It also shows the results for satisfaction with social care. Similar questions about satisfaction with social care have been asked in some previous surveys, but, as there have been changes in wording, comparisons are not made here.

Just 30 per cent of respondents were very or quite satisfied with social care and 31 per cent were very or quite dissatisfied. However, an almost equal proportion (28 per cent) were neutral, and 11 per cent did not know; both these responses were significantly higher than for NHS services and might indicate a relative lack of knowledge about social care services rather than a low satisfaction.

Question asked: 'And how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the NHS as regards... social care provided
by local authorities for people who cannot look after themselves because of illness, disability or old age?'
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More from the British Social Attitudes survey 2012