Social care lags behind NHS in public satisfaction survey

Public satisfaction rates with social care services remain far behind those with the NHS, according to a new survey. 

A report published by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust shows while public satisfaction with the NHS jumped to 60% across the UK last year, just 29% said they were satisfied with social care services, and 37% responded they were dissatisfied. 

The report also found that when asked about their satisfaction with social care, around a third (35%) of respondents either said they ‘don’t know’ or that they were ‘neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’.

More than 3,200 people were quizzed about their satisfaction with the NHS between July and October last year for the report, and 1,075 people about their satisfaction with specific NHS and social care services. 

The main reason people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS overall was not enough staff. 

The report found this figure jumped by 10% to 62% in 2019, which suggest ‘concern about staff shortages in the NHS has made a significant impression on the public’.

This was followed by waiting times for GP appointments and hospital treatment (57%) and a view that the government does not spend enough money on the NHS (49%). 

The survey also found that the number of people who say the NHS faces a major or severe funding problem has fallen from 86% to 80% in the last two years. 

And around two thirds of those surveyed (68%) said they were satisfied with GP services, which is up 5% on the previous year. 

‘This survey was carried out in 2019 when the NHS was struggling with severe staffing shortages and consistently missing waiting time targets,’ said report co-author and Nuffield Trust chief economist, John Appleby. 

‘So at first glance, it may seem surprising to see a jump in public satisfaction. But since the summer of 2018 and in the first months after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, the public has heard a lot about plans for substantial extra spending on the NHS. That may have sparked a sense of optimism. The question is how long it will last unless we see those promises being delivered soon.’

The King’s Fund’s senior fellow and report co-author, Dan Wellings, added: ‘The Covid-19 outbreak will put health and care services under extraordinary strain over the coming months and this will undoubtedly have a longer-term impact on public attitudes to the NHS. 

‘Seeing health and care staff pushed to their limits in the current crisis may only reinforce the public’s long-term support, trust and admiration for the NHS and their willingness to pay for it. Just possibly some of that concern and appreciation may also start to extend to social care as well.’

The full report – Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2019 – is available to read here. 

Photo Credit – Andibreit (Pixabay)

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