CSP highlights workforce planning failures for poor NHS satisfaction survey results

Public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level since 1997, according to analysis of the 2021 British Social Attitudes survey (BSA) published today by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust. 

The survey, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in September and October 2021, is seen as a gold standard measure of public attitudes.

It finds that public satisfaction with how the health service runs has fallen sharply to 36 per cent – an unprecedented drop of 17 percentage points from 2020 and the lowest level of satisfaction recorded since 1997. Record falls in satisfaction were also seen across all individual NHS services.

The survey looks at inpatient, outpatient and A&E services, plus general practice, social care and dentistry, but doesn’t include specific questions about physiotherapy.

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton said: ‘These are hugely dispiriting results but in no way the fault of NHS staff who have strived to deliver the best possible services under extraordinary pressure and often at a cost to their own health. 

Workforce crisis

‘The scores in this survey are the direct consequence of an utter failure for at least a decade to provide the staff needed to meet the surging demand faced by the NHS.

 'It’s no surprise that long waiting times and difficulties accessing a GP appointment are high among the public’s concerns and each would be addressed if we simply had more healthcare professionals, including physiotherapy staff, available to meet patients’ needs. 

‘It is absolutely essential that the government immediately puts forward a plan to tackle the workforce crisis to prevent a further worsening of conditions for staff and outcomes for patients.’

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