The general public's satisfaction with the running of the NHS nationally has fallen, results of an Ipsos MORI poll published last week show.

Only 57 per cent of people were satisfied with the overall running of the NHS when asked between March and April 2007, down from 63 per cent at the end of 2005. People in London, the South East/South Central were the least satisfied, the results revealed.

The public said more money followed by less bureaucracy, more nurses, shorter waiting lists and better management would improve the NHS nationally. But more doctors and being able to see a GP within 48 hours were considered more pressing issues for improving local services than improving management and cutting bureaucracy.

While 63 per cent of the public believe they have good NHS services locally, many do not believe that the situation is reflected across the whole country, the research commissioned by the Department of Health found.

Only 45 per cent believe the NHS is providing a good service nationally and just 25 per cent think the government's policies for the NHS are right.

And people are increasingly pessimistic about improvement - just one in five expect the NHS to get better in coming years - the lowest figure since 2000.

The report says the declines in public confidence reflect a "combination of worsening public opinion towards the government, a negative media focus on the NHS and staff criticism of the running of the service."