latest health care news

07.05.14

Public satisfaction with A&E services drops

Public satisfaction with accident and emergency (A&E) services in the NHS has dropped to its lowest level since 2008, according to British Social Attitudes survey data for 2013.

Published by the King’s Fund, the report highlighted that A&E satisfaction last year dropped from 59% to 53%. The fall follows a number of well-publicised breaches in the four-hour A&E waiting time target last year.

However, in general terms, public satisfaction in the way the NHS is run remained unchanged at 60%, compared to 2012. And, satisfaction with hospital outpatient services climbed to a record high of 67%, while satisfaction with inpatient services jumped six percentage points to 58%. 

The survey, conducted by NatCen Social Research, also showed that public satisfaction in GP services was unchanged at 74%, while satisfaction with dentists remained steady at 57%.

But in contrast to the high levels of satisfaction with the NHS, satisfaction with social care remains low. Just 29% of respondents were ‘very’ or ‘quite’ satisfied with social care with an equal proportion being dissatisfied.

John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund, said: “Since 1983 the British Social

Attitudes survey has provided an important barometer of how the public views the NHS. Public satisfaction in the NHS remains high, although satisfaction with A&E has dropped. This may be due to concerns about waiting times in 2013.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health stated that the report recognises public satisfaction in the NHS is high and at record levels for outpatient services.

However, it was conceded that: “We know we need to relieve pressure on A&E in the long term which is why we're strengthening the link between GPs and elderly patients and investing more in out of hospital care.”

The British Social Attitudes survey was undertaken by NatCen Social Research, with the interviews taking place between July and September 2013. The sample size for the health questions was 1,063. Interviews were carried out face-to-face with a random sample of adults.

(Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

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