About the British Social Attitudes survey 2014

Since 1983, the National Centre for 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 August and September 2014. Here we present the top-line results and trends from the survey. This is page 7 of 8 of our full report.

NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey has been conducted almost every year since 1983. Overall, more than 92,000 people have taken part. A selection of health care-related questions – including those on satisfaction reported here – has been funded by The King’s Fund since 2011. Other funders sponsor other questions on a variety of topics.

Sample and approach

The 2014 survey consisted of 2,878 interviews with a representative sample of adults in England, Scotland and Wales. Addresses are selected at random and visited by one of NatCen Social Research’s interviewers. After selecting (again at random) one adult (aged 18 and over) at the address, the interviewer carries out an hour-long interview. The participant answers most questions by selecting an answer from a set of cards.

The sample size for the overall NHS satisfaction question reported here was 1,937 in 2014; for questions about satisfaction with other NHS services the sample size was 971. The data is weighted to correct for the unequal probabilities of selection, and for biases caused by differential non-response. The weighted sample is calibrated to match the population in terms of age, sex and region. The margin of error in 2014 for the health care questions was around +/- 1.8 to 3.8 percentage points.

The majority of field work for the 2014 survey was conducted between August and September, with a small number of interviews taking place in October and November.


The topics covered by the survey change from year to year, depending on the identities and interests of its funders. Some questions are asked every year, some every couple of years and some less frequently.


The survey is funded by a range of charitable and government sources, which change from year to year. The survey is led by NatCen Social Research. NatCen carries out research in the fields of social and public policy, uncovering the truth about people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them. As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, NatCen focuses its time and energy on meeting clients’ needs and delivering social research that works for society.

Next: References and acknowledgements