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GPs remain top-ranked NHS service among the British public

Almost three-quarters (72%) of participants in the British Social Attitudes Survey were happy with their GP last year.

The King’s Fund’s report on the study said this was not a statistically significant increase since 2015, when 69% were happy with their GP, but said it showed GPs continued to be the highest-rated health service.

When asked about their satisfaction with NHS on the whole, just 63% of the public expressed that they were satisfied, compared with 60% the previous year (again, marked as a not statistically significant difference).

The main reason for overall satisfaction with health services was because of ‘the quality of NHS care’, which was cited by more than two-thirds of respondents.

But, conversely, the main reason for dissatisfaction (more than half of respondents) was because it ‘takes too long to get a GP or hospital appointment’.

But unlike the GP Patient Survey, the respondents to the BSA survey may not recently have used the NHS, the King’s Fund pointed out. The think-tank added that ‘many of the survey respondents will have visited their general practice in the past year, either for themselves or with a family member’.

It suggested that ‘the public’s familiarity with this service, and the ongoing and (often) more personal nature of their relationship with their GP’ could be ‘part of the reason why GP services consistently receive higher satisfaction ratings than other NHS services’.

The report said: ‘Satisfaction with GP services was 72% and, as in previous years, was higher than satisfaction with any other NHS service.’

The 2016 survey consisted of 2,942 interviews with a representative sample of adults in England, Scotland and Wales, and was conducted by NatCen.