Low satisfaction with the NHS is no surprise

Hannah Dewhirst

Only 36% of people are satisfied with our NHS - the lowest level in 25 years. And understandably so.

Millions are waiting for treatment. We're terminally short of staff. But for the real reason, we need to dig deeper. To explain why the failings in our NHS are not the fault of staff; who are fighting to do their best in a broken system, but those who are meant to hold ultimate responsibility: our government.

Let's start here: this week sees the end of free universal testing. While thankfully the government updated their policy yesterday, so that free COVID-19 tests will continue to be available for specific patients and NHS and care staff, the risk remains too high. We need free testing for all. 

The very same day, the government will also be taking away free parking for NHS staff in England. Over the last two years, this free hospital parking has cost around £130 million. Apparently too high to justify the boosted morale and huge benefits it brought.

While also this week we learned more than £700 million has been wasted by the government to store items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - including 3.6 billion items that CAN'T BE USED.

On the day when the Ockenden report into the Shropshire maternity scandal is published, and the same week we've seen COVID rates once again hitting record highs; there is one NHS story that isn’t grabbing headlines - the government's Health and Care Bill - which heads back to the House of Commons today.

A Bill which provides no new funding, no additional staff or support, that will accelerate NHS privatisation and force a top-down reorganisation precisely when it isn't needed.

People's satisfaction with the NHS is at its lowest level in 25 years, and it's clear why. Because at every chance this government has had to prioritise patients and staff - they've chosen not to.

There is still hope. The same British Social Attitudes survey found enduring support across voting lines for a national health service funded by general taxation and available free of charge. But if that's the NHS we really want to protect, we must fight for it. 

If you haven’t already, please demand #JohnsonMustAct and sign our letter to urge Boris Johnson to reinstate basic public health measures to safeguard patients and staff today. 

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