British Social Attitudes Survey – Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2021
This recently published ‘gold standard’ national survey shows that public satisfaction with the NHS fell to its lowest level since 1997. The main reason people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS overall was waiting times for hospital and GP appointments, followed by staff shortages, then by the view that the government does not spend enough money on the NHS. The survey’s authors observe that it was conducted at a time when there was a ‘polarised media debate’ about GP appointment availability in a ‘toxic environment’.
The data makes for unhappy reading for all NHS staff, but it is not surprising. Years of underfunding and neglect of workforce planning means that the recruitment and retention of staff hasn’t kept up with growing need. GP practice staff are on your side and feel your pain. General practice needs to be rebuilt so that we can provide the quality of care you deserve.
Spilsby Surgery continues to operate a model of ‘total triage’ for appointments with its doctors and nurse consultant. This remains in part to reduce the risk of Covid infection to vulnerable patients in our small waiting room, and to ensure that when we agree there is a need for a face-to-face appointment that we can offer one promptly. Compare our model with the stories your friends and family may report from other parts of the NHS.
However, this results in our duty GP or nurse being very busy. It is simply impossible for them to speak to every patient. We do ask that you trust and respect our trained Care Navigators if they direct you to another service (for example a consultation with a pharmacist, or a local Urgent Treatment Centre). The alternative would be to cap daily contacts and offer a ‘fastest finger first’ service. That would be a step backwards. We look forward to the continued support of the majority of our patients as we work together to sustain and rebuild general practice.