The RCP has responded to analysis of the 2022 British Social Attitudes survey (BSA) published today by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust showing that satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest level since the BSA survey began in 1983.
Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “It’s sadly unsurprising to hear that one of the main reasons for the public’s dissatisfaction with the NHS is staff shortages. NHS staff are under more pressure than ever before – often stretched far beyond the limits of their contractual working hours and responsibilities as they try to keep up with demand and do their best for patients.
“Despite all the pressures upon them, staff are managing to tackle the NHS backlog and recent NHS data shows they have even reduced waits for patients who might have previously been waiting 18 months or more – a firm testament to their commitment. The government must play its part by doing all it can to look after and grow our workforce including urgently negotiating meaningfully with junior doctors to avert more industrial action, which has already negatively affected over 175,000 hospital appointments and procedures.
“The government needs to publish the promised long-term workforce plan in full, including numbers of staff needed to meet demand in 5-, 10- and 15-years’ time, and commit to deliver the funding needed to underpin it. The plan must include an expansion of medical school places to increase the number of doctors. Lives are depending on it.”