Public satisfaction with the NHS stabilised last year after a 'record fall' in 2011, finds a survey published by The King’s Fund.
The 2011 fall - from 70 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent - coincided with the first year of the NHS' spending squeeze and sustained media coverage about the Government’s NHS reforms.
The survey also found that:
- satisfaction with A&E services has increased by 5 per cent from 54 to 59 per cent
- satisfaction with GP services (74 per cent) and dentists (56 per cent) is unchanged
- satisfaction with social care services is low, at only 30 per cent.
Crucial litmus test
Commenting on the importance of public feedback, NHS Confederation director of policy Dr Johnny Marshall said: "Feedback from the public and patients on their NHS experience is a crucial litmus test of service quality. Collectively, NHS leaders already pay high regard to what past, current and future users tell us about their healthcare.
"The recent report into Mid Staffordshire rightly identified that it is crucial for every local organisation to pay careful attention to what their patients and communities are saying about services, using feedback from individual experiences as well as surveys like this."
No room for complacency
Speaking of the survey's findings, Dr Marshall said: "The findings indicate the majority of the public are satisfied with the NHS, and it is particularly good to see a rise in the proportion of people satisfied with A&E services compared to the previous year.
"But there is absolutely no room for complacency. We should be aiming for every patient to report full satisfaction with their care. This won't be without its challenges, but the NHS wants to make it happen - patients are, and should be, at the heart of everything we do."
Effective, two-way communication
His comments come as the NHS tries to rebuild public confidence in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.
He added: "It is vital that we do not underestimate the importance of effective, two-way communication with patients and the public, particularly as the NHS comes under more pressure than ever before.
"We are continuing to deliver care throughout the biggest NHS reorganisation in our 65 year history, against a challenging financial backdrop and rising demand. We must engage with the public more rather than less, to ensure people can continue to have full confidence in their NHS."
Find out more
Find out more about the survey on the King's Fund website.
Visit our Francis inquiry section to find out more about the recent report, Government response and our work to support members.
Find out about changes to the NHS and the financial challenges facing the NHS.