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General practice is the highest-rated NHS sector by the public

8 February 2016

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Patient satisfaction is higher for general practice than any other NHS sector, the latest survey has revealed.

The British Social Attitudes survey for 2015 reports a five percentage point fall in satisfaction with the NHS compared to 2014, data published today by The King’s Fund shows.

Nearly seven out of 10 people surveyed are satisfied with GP services (69%), the survey revealed.

However, this does represent a ten percent drop in satisfaction since 2009, and is the lowest rating since the annual poll began in 1983.

In response, Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs and their teams across the country that at a time of such intense resource and workforce pressures, patient satisfaction with our service is the highest in the NHS.

“This relentless pressure is a threat to our own health and our patients’ safety – and this report today indicates that it is gradually wearing down the satisfaction our patients have in us,” she added.

For the first time some respondents that were satisfied or dissatisfied with the NHS were asked why. The biggest drivers of satisfaction were: the quality of care provided (61%), the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use (59%) and the range of services and treatments available (54%).

The main reasons for dissatisfaction are waiting times for GP and hospital appointments (55%), not enough staff (44%) and under-funding (39%).

Baker is now calling for “more investment in our services, and initiatives to be implemented to ‘recruit, retain and return’ thousands more GPs and practice staff as a matter of urgency, so that we can continue to deliver the care that our patients need and deserve.”

See the full results here