Public satisfaction with the NHS stabilised last year after a record fall in 2011, suggesting concern about the spending squeeze and the government’s reforms has not grown stronger.
The British Social Attitudes survey data, published by The King’s Fund, shows that satisfaction with the way the NHS runs now stands at 61 per cent.
It follows a record decline in satisfaction from 70 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2011, which coincided with the first year in a four year NHS spending squeeze and sustained media coverage about the government’s reforms.
Satisfaction with accident and emergency services increased last year, jumping from 54 per cent to 59 per cent. Outpatient services and inpatient services, meanwhile, showed little change from 2011, at 64 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.
In comparison to the high levels of satisfaction with the NHS, satisfaction with social care services was much lower, at only 30 per cent.
On the other hand, satisfaction was 74 per cent for GP services and 56 per cent for dentists - the same as 2011.
Commenting on the findings, John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund, said: “With no real change in satisfaction with the NHS in 2012, this suggests the record fall in 2011 was not a blip and that the ground lost may take some time to recover.”
Satisfaction was consistent across the political spectrum last year - something which is not usually the case - standing at 64% among Conservative and Labour supporters, and 63% among Liberal Democrats.