Satisfaction with the NHS overall, 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 3 of 8 of our full report.

Figure 1 shows trends in overall satisfaction with the NHS since 1983. Satisfaction rose steadily throughout the 2000s, from 38 per cent in 2001 to an all-time high of 70 per cent in 2010. This was likely to be a result of increased NHS funding during that period which led to improvements in things that patients and the public cared about, such as shorter waiting times (Appleby and Robertson 2010).

However, 2011 saw the largest drop in satisfaction ever recorded by the survey, down to 58 per cent (Appleby 2012). Following a few years in which satisfaction levels remained largely unchanged, the data for 2014 shows an increase to 65 per cent, the second highest level since 1983. At the same time, the proportion of people dissatisfied with the NHS reached an all-time low of 15 per cent.

These figures may reflect a straightforward increase in satisfaction with the health service in 2014. But they may also reflect other factors, such as the public’s response to media coverage of NHS financial pressures, explored in depth later in this report.

When we look at net satisfaction levels – that is, the number of people who are satisfied minus the number who are dissatisfied – the net difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction in 2014 is 50 per cent, larger than in any other year except 2010 (Figure 2).

Next: Satisfaction with NHS and social care services

Explore the full report

  1. Key findings and summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Satisfaction with the NHS overall
  4. Satisfaction with NHS and social care services 
  5. Who is satisfied with the NHS? 
  6. Conclusion
  7. About the British Social Attitudes survey
  8. References and acknowledgements