Public satisfaction with the NHS stabilised last year after suffering a record drop the previous year, which GP leaders warned was a result of the health reforms in England.
The annual British Social Attitudes survey, published by The King’s Fund today, revealed that satisfaction with the NHS now stands at 61%, the third highest level since the survey began in 1983.
This followed the record drop to 58% in 2011, from 70% in 2010. General practice continues to receive the highest satisfaction ratings, scoring 74% last year, up from 73% in the previous survey.
Outpatients was the second highest performing service last year, with 64%, up from 61% the previous year. Social care was the lowest scoring service with 30% after it was included in the survey for the first time.
GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the results showed that patients still value the relationship they have with their GP despite the negative publicity the NHS receives.
‘It is always good to know that patients are pleased with the services they are getting from their GPs,’ he said. ‘It is testament to the hard work that practices have put in over the last year to try to maintain quality services despite everything that the government has done to put that at risk.
‘It shows that despite all the headlines in the press and the challenges the NHS faces, patients themselves value that local relationship. It is the local knowledge which is so important to patients and that is why we have been able to maintain public satisfaction.
‘The challenge is to maintain that in the coming year, when practices are working harder and when GPs are being placed in the difficult position of being a commissioner and a provider of services.’
A sample of 1,103 people took part in face-to-face interviews between July and September 2012. They were asked: ‘All in all, how satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the way in which the NHS runs nowadays?’