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NHS patient survey shows record low satisfaction

A recent NHS patient survey has revealed that public satisfaction with the NHS has dropped to a record low. In the British Social Attitudes Survey, over 52% of NHS patients stated that they were dissatisfied with the care they had received from the NHS.

Overall, only 24% of people who were surveyed said that they were satisfied with level of care on offer from the NHS. This is a significant 5% drop in patient satisfaction, compared to only one year earlier.

These figures are sadly not surprising, as more and more UK residents have been turning to private health insurance as an alternative to NHS services.

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60-Second Summary – NHS patient survey shows record low satisfaction

Millions of people across the UK feel that the NHS is not providing the level of care that they need. The latest NHS patient survey has recorded the lowest levels of patient satisfaction since the survey first began in 1983.

On the other hand, private healthcare has become more popular. According to The Guardian, 1 in 8 Brits will now pay for private treatment instead of waiting in long NHS queues.

  • Only 24% of people surveyed were happy with the NHS care that was available to them, with only 13% being happy with social care services
  • 48% of the people who were surveyed stated that they would like the government to spend more money on improving the NHS
  • Satisfaction with the NHS has dropped by 29% since 2020, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on NHS waiting times
  • Private health insurance is a useful way to access additional health support, alongside the care on offer from the NHS. Health insurance is intended to complement NHS services, and not to completely replace them.

The British Social Attitudes Survey is a survey that is conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, with over 3,000 UK residents being surveyed in 2023.

Any data about the NHS is published by the Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund, and this year the results have shown record low levels of patient satisfaction. Most people that were surveyed were unhappy with the NHS, with many complaints mentioning long waiting times and lack of staff and funding.

This latest survey has been covered by major news channels including Sky News, BBC, and the below clip is from Channel 4 News.

Public satisfaction with NHS at lowest level ever recorded, poll shows

The British Social Attitudes Survey is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, with some funding from other organisations. The UK government used to provide funding, but this has now been replaced by funding from the Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund.

This survey has been conducted each year since 1983, other than in 1988 and 1992.

The aim of the survey is to find out how the UK public feel about topics like healthcare, child care, government spending etc.

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There have been a lot of news stories in recent years about issues with the NHS and this latest survey has revealed facts like:

  • Public satisfaction with the NHS has hit a record low, with less than a quarter of people (24%) being happy with NHS care and services
  • Satisfaction with the NHS has dropped by 29% since 2020, after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 5% of this drop in satisfaction happened between 2022 and 2023.
  • Most people who were surveyed don’t want a new system and want improvements made to current NHS systems
  • Almost half of people surveyed (48%) would be happy to pay higher taxes if the money went to improving NHS services
  • 71% of people who were surveyed said that they were concerned about delays in hospital and GP appointments
  • 54% of people were unhappy with staff shortages and 47% felt that the NHS is underfunded
  • Most issues with low satisfaction are due problems with GP and dental services. Satisfaction with GP services has dropped by 34% since 2019 (before the pandemic)

Source: Nuffield Trust – Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2023

Private health insurance is not necessarily ‘better’ than the NHS, but it can offer a more convenient and flexible way to receive medical care. Private healthcare can be easier to access, and you can often book in appointments and treatments at a time to suit you.

Many private health insurance companies also offer extra benefits for their customers like online GP apps and discounts for gyms, smart watches and more.

It’s important to remember that while private health insurance is helpful, it won’t cover every situation. Most companies won’t pay of for things like emergency treatment or treatment of pre-existing conditions.

This is why private health insurance is designed to work alongside the NHS and it isn’t a total replacement for NHS services.

The simplest way to buy a private health insurance policy is to speak to an experienced health insurance specialist. An expert advisor can compare the best quotes across the market, so that you never pay more than you need to for the cover that you need.

You can call 0800 009 6559 to speak to our experts or CLICK HERE to fill in our online form.

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What is the average cost of health insurance UK?

One of the top questions that people ask about health insurance is, ‘how much does it cost on average per month?’. According to recent research taken in 2023, the average cost of a health insurance is £86 per month for a standard personal protection policy. Health insurance policies can vary dramatically based on your age and the type of cover that you need, as well as which insurance provider you choose.

Most core health insurance policies will provide a similar level of protection and coverage for private medical treatments. You can tailor your health insurance policy to suit your needs and your budget by changing the benefits and levels of cover that you receive.

Is health insurance worth it?

Health insurance is the same as most other personal protection policies that you can buy, it is down to your own personal preference and attitude to risk. The other major issue is whether you can afford to pay for health insurance every month because it can be expensive.

If you ever need to claim on your health insurance policy then the benefits can be life changing and even lifesaving. The medical treatments and care that is provided by the NHS in the UK is among the best in the world, especially for chronic illness. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that the NHS is struggling to meet demand and that the levels of private medical treatment are generally far superior to public health treatments.

Example: If you needed knee surgery then you would have to wait for months or even years on the NHS, whereas private health insurance will give you access to better treatment, leading specialists, and within weeks usually. Rehabilitation and therapies cover that are also provided by most health insurance policies can be invaluable, especially if you are self-employed for example.

Is private health insurance better than the NHS?

Currently, the biggest issue with the NHS is the waiting times for any consultations and access to treatments, because of how stretched its resources are. The NHS provides some of the best care in the world for chronic illnesses and diseases, such as diabetes, MS, epilepsy, and asthma.

Health insurance is designed to complement and support the treatment that you can receive on the National Health Service, as well as giving you access to specialists for other medical issues such as musculoskeletal issues and cancer treatment, which are also the top reasons for claims on health insurance cover.

The main issues with NHS treatment currently and reasons for people taking out health insurance:

  • Long waiting lists for consultations, results and treatment
  • Overcrowded hospitals
  • Lack of beds
  • Shortages of NHS nurses and doctors
  • Some treatments not available (especially cancer treatments)
  • Specialists only available on private health insurance
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What is the best health insurance UK?

There are lots of different policy options when considering health insurance as well as your choice of several main insurance providers. The other consideration is whether you don’t take out health insurance and opt for receiving treatment on the NHS or paying for treatment yourself as and when you need it.

We’re constantly reviewing the top health insurance companies in the UK to find out which provide the best service, value, products and treatments. Based on our most recent reviews we suggest the following as the best health insurance UK 2023:

  1. Aviva Healthcare Solutions (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
  2. BUPA Health Insurance (Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5.0)
  3. Vitality Personal Healthcare (Trustpilot score: 3.9 out of 5.0)
  4. Exeter Health+ (Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5.0)
  5. AXA PPP (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
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Best Private Health Insurance 2023 - iam|INSURED

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