A new survey has found that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen 6% in a year to just 57% – the lowest level since 2011. The survey also found that dissatisfaction with the NHS has increased to 29% – the highest level in 10 years.
The figures are the result of a new British Social Attitudes survey from the National Centre for Social Research, which was carried out by think tanks The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust.
These organisations say the alarming results reflect the British public’s growing anxieties regarding the funding and staffing levels of the NHS. The survey revealed that staff shortages, long waiting times, government reforms and lack of funding are the four main reasons for public dissatisfaction.
Janet Davies, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said in response of the survey results:
Ministers must act urgently on public concerns over NHS understaffing. The shortages are beginning to bite and that is reflected in this research. The evidence shows that patient care standards rise and fall with the number of nurses.
Health and social care services across the country are struggling to recruit and retain nurses. Training budgets have been slashed, leaving existing staff frustrated and demoralised, and cuts to student funding have led to a worrying fall in applications – we are losing the nurses of the future.
There are 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in England alone and this is getting worse. Despite repeated warnings, successive governments have failed to draw up a national workforce plan that guarantees our supply of nurses. As these survey results make clear, it is patients and their families who suffer the consequences.
We know nurses want to provide high quality, safe and effective care, but under investment in staff means they have to make hard choices, resulting in care being left undone.