College comments on British Social Attitudes survey

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has reacted to the findings of the British Social Attitudes survey, published by the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund, which indicate that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level since the survey began in 1983.

Commenting Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

The British Social Attitudes survey reveals a disturbing but predictable decline in satisfaction with our NHS and asks one of the major questions of our times – how much are we, as a nation, prepared to spend on our healthcare?

It is clear that the current level of funding available in each of the four nations of the UK cannot provide everything that modern healthcare can now offer from “cradle to grave”. As such, that presents us with a clear choice - increase funding, through direct taxation or some other means, or make reasoned decisions about what we can and cannot provide from the public purse.

The results of this survey suggest that many would like to see NHS funding increase – even if that meant an increase in personal taxation. We support the need to increase funding and urge the medical community in the UK to support politicians in opening up this debate with the public in a “national conversation” on the future of the NHS. The alternative – continuing to pretend that we can do everything for everybody all of the time with no change in funding – will only lead to further declines in satisfaction and unbridled and erratic expansion of private care, with subsequent widening of health inequalities


Details of the findings of the British Social Attitides survey in relation to the NHS can be found here: Public Satisfaction With The NHS And Social Care In 2023 | BSA | The King's Fund (