NHS Satisfaction Decreases Amid Reforms and Cuts

The reform of the National Health Service (NHS), alongside large funding cuts, is reducing people’s satisfaction with the NHS.

This is according to the findings from the NHS Spring Public Perceptions of the NHS Tracker Survey, which was published on the weekend.

The survey was led by the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute for the Department of Health, and revealed that 69% of the survey respondents were satisfied with the current running of the UK National Health Service.  This is a 4% decrease in comparison to the survey completed between December 2009 and December 2008, when 73% of respondents were satisfied with the NHS.

Ipsos MORI carried out just in excess of one thousand interviews among a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over, with the interviews taking place between the 4th and 31st of May 2012.

The number of people who were very satisfied is now only 17%, a substantial drop from the 24% that was documented in December 2009.

There has also been a 6% decrease in agreement that the government has the correct policies for the NHS since December 2009.  This continues to be a steady decline since December 2009.  45% of people now disagree that the government has the right policies.

The reason, according to the Department of Health, is because the government revealed their controversial reform agenda for the National Health Service, which has since become increasingly disliked, in mid-2010.  The reform agenda since became law, in a diluted form, in April earlier this year.

The report surrounding the survey notes that “these attitudes are likely to be linked to perceptions of the [NHS] reforms.”

The survey also found that nearly half (43%) think the changes the government is making to the NHS “will make services worse for patients” (an increase on 38% in December 2011).

In addition, the public continues to believe that the biggest problem facing the NHS is lack of resources and investment, which was instinctively mentioned by 39% of the people surveyed.  One in five respondents believes that the NHS suffers from being short-staffed, and 8% believe overworked staff to be a major problem for the UK health service.

The NHS is presently under pressure to find roughly £5 billion in savings annually until 2015 under the so-called QIPP challenge.  Since the QIPP challenge’s beginning in 2009/10, the National Health Service has looked to making large staff reductions to assist in easing the savings burden, which could be why the public sees lack of resources as a key issue.


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