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In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) stands as a fundamental pillar of public health, offering essential medical services to millions. However, recent findings from the British Social Attitudes survey paint a concerning picture. Public satisfaction with the NHS has reached its lowest recorded level, reflecting growing concerns over waiting times, staff shortages, and overall service quality. In this article, we delve into the key findings of the survey, explore the reasons behind the decline in satisfaction, and discuss potential avenues for improvement.

The Survey Results

According to the British Social Attitudes survey conducted in 2023, only 24% of respondents expressed satisfaction with the NHS, marking a five-percentage-point drop from the previous year. This figure starkly contrasts with the peak satisfaction rate of 70% recorded in 2010. The survey, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research across England, Wales, and Scotland, polled over 3,000 individuals, providing valuable insights into public sentiment towards the healthcare system.
Chart showing satisfaction levels with NHS
Public Satisfaction with NHS at record low: survey by Nuffield Trust and King's Fund

Key Concerns

Several factors contribute to the declining satisfaction levels among the public:
  • Waiting Times: Long waiting times for medical appointments and procedures remain a significant source of frustration for patients.
  • Staff Shortages: The NHS faces persistent challenges in recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals, leading to understaffed facilities and overworked staff.
  • Funding and Resources: Insufficient funding and resources strain the healthcare system, impacting service quality and patient outcomes.
Top 5 reasons for NHS dissatisfaction
Top 5 reasons for NHS dissatisfaction: survey by Nuffield Trust and King's Fund

Impact on Core Services

The survey highlights specific areas of dissatisfaction within the NHS:
  • Accident & Emergency (A&E): Public satisfaction with A&E services remains low, reflecting concerns over overcrowding and lengthy waiting times.
  • Dentistry: Dental services also receive low satisfaction ratings, indicating potential issues with accessibility and quality of care.

Social Care

In addition to healthcare services, public satisfaction with social care has plummeted to 13%, the lowest since the survey's inception. Similar to healthcare, long waiting times, staffing shortages, and funding constraints contribute to dissatisfaction in the social care sector.

Public Opinion on Government Action

When asked about government interventions, nearly half of respondents (48%) supported increased taxes and spending on the NHS. However, a significant portion (42%) preferred maintaining current levels of taxation and spending. These divergent views underscore the complexity of addressing healthcare challenges through policy measures.

Industry Perspectives

Rory Deighton, the NHS Confederation's acute network director, acknowledges the challenges faced by both patients and healthcare professionals. He emphasises the need for concerted efforts to improve access to primary care and reduce waiting lists. Increased investment in hospitals, GP surgeries, and social care is deemed essential for addressing systemic issues.

Call for Action

Healthcare organisations, such as the Nuffield Trust and the Royal College of Nursing, stress the urgency of addressing the NHS's shortcomings. Political parties are urged to prioritise healthcare reform, focusing on enhancing service quality, reducing waiting times, and ensuring equitable access to care.

Government Response

While acknowledging the survey findings, the Department of Health and Social Care in England highlights ongoing efforts to improve NHS performance. Investment in key areas like GP services demonstrates a commitment to addressing systemic challenges. Similarly, the Scottish and Welsh governments emphasise their dedication to enhancing healthcare despite budgetary constraints.


The decline in public satisfaction with the NHS reflects deep-rooted challenges facing the healthcare system. Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach, involving increased investment, workforce development, and policy reforms. By listening to patient experiences, collaborating with healthcare professionals, and prioritising public health, stakeholders can work towards rebuilding trust and ensuring the NHS delivers on its promise of quality care for all.

Private Medical Insurance as a Solution

While systemic issues within the NHS are being addressed, increasing numbers of individuals are exploring alternatives like Private Medical Insurance to alleviate immediate concerns. PMI offers access to private healthcare services, reducing wait times and providing additional health choices for patients.

Why get private health insurance?

Health insurance allows you get back on your feet quicker:

✅ Avoid long NHS waiting lists of many weeks and get treated faster with private medical insurance, which can be really important for a successful recovery
✅ Get early diagnosis so you can get the treatment you need right away done privately
✅ Business owners can save on their tax bill with private medical insurance
✅ You are free to choose your surgeon or hospital to suit your needs by place and time
✅ You often get a private room with better facilities for your treatment or surgery
✅ With private medical health insurance you gain access to advanced treatments not available on the NHS

Benefits offered by private health insurance

Private medical health insurance is an insurance policy that covers the costs of private healthcare, from diagnosis to treatment. You just pay an affordable monthly premium that covers all or some of the cost of treatment for acute conditions that develop after your health insurance policy has begun.

Our mission is to put you in touch with not only the best, but the most suitable private medical health insurance companies. With even more risk on the rise for personal health today, it makes more sense than ever to have private medical health insurance cover.

👍 Many people are very thankful that they had their private medical health insurance cover in place before running into some serious health issues. Private medical health insurance is as important as life insurance for protecting your family's finances.

Important Fact!

Why increasing numbers of individuals and families opt for PMI insurance

👉 We insure our cars, houses, bicycles and even bags! Yet our health is one the most precious things we have.

People buy life, critical illness and private medical health insurance for a variety of reasons – easily one of the most important insurance purchases an individual or family can make in their lifetime. PMI insurance is still seen as a luxury in the UK. Indeed, only around 11% of the population has private medical insurance. However, an increasing number of people are taking out private medical insurance due to a number of reasons:
  • Avoid NHS waiting lists and be treated more quickly
  • Faster diagnosis (comprehensive cover)
  • More access to latest cancer drugs and treatments, some of which may be unavailable on the NHS
  • Greater choice over where and when your treatment takes place
  • Have a private room should you need treatment in hospital
Our award-winning FCA-authorised insurance partner experts are ready to provide you with a FREE Consultation.

👍 Simply get your affordable private medical health insurance plan in place for the necessary peace of mind! Just tap or click the button below to book a FREE call now! 👇

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Any questions?

Do I need Private Medical Insurance if I have Life Insurance?

Life Insurance and Private Medical Insurance cover you for two different purposes, so you will need to assess your needs but may wish to consider holding the two policies. Private Medical Insurance covers you if you get sick or need treatment and want or need to go privately. Life Insurance covers you in the case of death, giving a payout to family/those left behind.

If you prefer to get straight into treatment in the private sector without the long waiting times with the NHS, or you just prefer the private sector anyway, without having to pay it all yourself, then you would need to have Private Medical Insurance to cover it. Sometimes treatments and drugs that are not covered by the NHS can be covered by Private Medical Insurance.

It's free to use WeCovr to find health insurance - we never charge you for quotes. Health or private medical insurance is an investment that can pay for itself the first time you might need medical treatment.

It depends on your personal choice and preferences. If you are prepared to limit yourself to NHS-covered treatments only and can or want to endure long waiting times to get into treatment, then yes, NHS might work for you. Your cover there is free. If you don't want to be exposed to long waiting times or if your treatment is not covered by the NHS, then you would benefit from Private Medical Insurance.

Private Medical Insurance is an important financial product that insurance companies take a lot of care and diligence so speaking to real human beings ensures that they understand your requirements fully so that you can get the right cover.

All of our partners are carefully vetted and authorised by the FCA, which means they are held to the highest standards that the FCA expects from them and treat all customers fairly!

Our insurance partners give us a few pounds when you take out a policy with one of their experts.


Who Are WeCovr?

WeCovr is an insurance specialist for people valuing their peace of mind and a great service.

👍 WeCovr will help you get your life insurance, critical illness insurance, private medical health insurance, over-50s funeral insurance and senior life insurance quote in no time thanks to our wonderful super-friendly expert partners ready to assist you every step of the way.

Just a quick and simple form and an easy conversation with our FCA-authorised life insurance, critical illness insurance and private medical insurance partner experts and your valuable insurance policy is in place for that needed peace of mind!