As the governments' planned restructuring starts and the budget cuts begin to bite how are attitudes towards, and experiences of, the NHS changing? This page aims to track these changes starting with a look at the latest British Social Attitude report and the findings of the National Patient Survey Programme.
British Social attitudes towards the NHS
The British Social Attitudes survey, conducted by NatCen, collects views from the general public about a range of social issues including how satisfied respondents are with the NHS. Respondents to the survey may not have received services from the NHS. The survey asks the following question: All in all, how satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the way in which the NHS is run nowadays?
In 2010 the survey recorded the highest ever level of satisfaction with more than 70% of respondents saying they were "very" or "quite" satisfied with the way that the NHS is run.
In 2011 the survey showed a 12% drop is satisfaction from 70% to 58%. This is largest drop in satisfaction with how the NHS is run since the survey began in 1983.
The cause of this drop is unclear though the King's Fund suggests several explanations.
Patient Satisfaction survey
The Department for Health and the Care Quality Commission carry out surveys of patient satisfaction. The results of these surveys are used by NHS organisations and the Department of Health to track performance of staff; to measure the impact of specific policies and to see whether patients' needs are being met.
The most recent Patient experience survey conducted by the Department of Health finds that on the whole patient satisfaction with the NHS is largely unchanged since 2010.
So despite a drop in the broader perception of how well the NHS is working since 2010 those surveyed by the National Patient Survey Programme did not register a similar change in their experience of NHS services.