London, 30th March 2022: The finding that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level since 1997 should be a warning to the Government that the situation for patients seeking care is now really very bad.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “The findings published by the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust suggest patients and the public have run out of patience with the NHS. The disruption to the relationship between patients and the services they need, must clearly now be understood as profound and long-term.

“The BSA survey adds to all the other evidence, including our own, of how patients have suffered over the last two years. The NHS must recognise the extent of patient difficulties, understand them, and make a concerted effort to find out patients’ concerns. From that point, we believe the best way forward is for the NHS to work in partnership with patients. The NHS must reconnect with patients as we come out of the pandemic and work in partnership with them to rebuild the relationship between the NHS and patients, and together, redesign services.”

The analysis by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust of the 2021 British Social Attitudes survey (BSA) vindicates warnings given by the Patients Association in 2020 that the pandemic was disrupting the relationship between patients and the NHS.

In September 2020, following our first Pandemic Patient Experience report, we warned that the actions the NHS had taken to cope with the pandemic were damaging the relationship between the NHS and its patients.