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Feature Patient Satisfaction

Data briefing: The politics of attitudes towards the NHS

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 18 May 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1071
  1. John Appleby, director of research and chief economist
  1. Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. jappleby999{at}

Satisfaction with health services is at a historical low—but nuance is found by looking at political affiliation, finds John Appleby

Satisfaction with the NHS has hit a new low, show the latest results from the British Social Attitudes survey, carried out late last year. Just 29% of the 3362 people surveyed across England, Scotland, and Wales said they were either very or quite satisfied with the way the NHS was run nowadays. For the first time since the survey began in 1983 a majority (51%) said they were either very or quite dissatisfied.

The bad news extended across different care services. Satisfaction with GP services (35%), dentistry (27%), inpatient care (35%), outpatient care (45%), emergency departments (30%), and social care (14%) all reached historical lows.

Of course, these are averages across the whole population surveyed, and views and attitudes will vary …

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