Drop in public satisfaction in the NHS is inevitable consequence of decade of austerity, says NHS Confederation

Niall Dickson

Responding to the findings of the 2018 British Social Attitudes survey, published by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the health sector, said:

"These findings show the inevitable consequence of starving the NHS of funding for the best part of a decade. We should be under no illusions about the scale of the task we face to restore public confidence in the health service.

"The public is right to be concerned about waiting times, staff shortages and inadequate funding levels - these are all major concerns for frontline health leaders. The gulf between satisfaction with NHS services and with social care is also highly concerning. This reflects the ongoing shortfalls in funding and workforce faced by social care, and the Government must take measures to address this.

"Today's findings also show how worried the public are about their local GP services - this is again not surprising given the under-investment we have seen in recent years. In the decade from 2006-16, there was a 5% fall in the number of GPs. This has to be reversed and that's why we are delighted to see the significant additional investment that will go into primary care following the new GP contract. It's vital we rebuild capacity among our local GP services and support them to improve the way they deliver care to the public. 

"There are other grounds for optimism, too. As this important report demonstrates, the public still fundamentally support the underlying principles of the NHS, and public satisfaction with hospital services is rising. We also have a new five-year funding settlement and an ambitious 10-year plan to improve the quality of care patients receive and their experience of services. 

"These developments will go a long way to helping restore public confidence in the NHS." 

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