We are dismayed by the findings in this year’s British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, but not surprised that public satisfaction with the NHS is at an all-time low. The findings reflect the mounting challenges patients face in accessing overstretched services.

For years, we have warned that the relationship between patients and the healthcare services they rely on has been severely strained by the immense pressures facing the NHS. This year’s BSA survey emphasises patients’ increasing frustrations over long waits for appointments, staff shortages and perceived underfunding in the NHS.

Despite historically low levels of satisfaction, the survey shows patients still overwhelmingly support the NHS’s founding principles of being free at point of use, funded through taxation and available to everyone. The public has not lost faith in the NHS; they have lost confidence it can consistently deliver the standard of care they deserve.

Ahead of the general election, we call on all political parties to prioritise the sustainability of the NHS in their manifestos. There needs to be a fully funded workforce plan and urgent long-awaited reform of social care. Our general election manifesto sets out key steps the next Government must take to ensure access to high quality care, and genuine engagement to put patients at the heart of healthcare delivery. Only then, will it be possible to begin restoring public confidence in the NHS and meeting the nation’s health needs.

26th March 2024