The Rise in Dissatisfaction with NHS Mental Health Services

creative commons Ray Nata (

creative commons Ray Nata (

The biggest ever rise in public dissatisfaction with the NHS was recorded last year, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey by Natcen Social Research.

The 2015 poll (of nearly 2,200 people) showed satisfaction with the NHS at 60%- down from a peak of 70% in 2010.

The chief executive of the Kings Fund think-tank, Chris Ham,  has said that while overall satisfaction levels were still high, by historical standards, the findings should act as a “real wake up call”.

He said:

What’s gone wrong is the public’s perception of the NHS under growing pressure. Money is tight, waiting times are getting longer, people are concerned that when they need the NHS it might not be there for them.


Long waiting times have been cited as the greatest cause for dissatisfaction.

This was mentioned by over half of people in the survey, followed by the complaint that there are not enough staff to meet patient needs.

Sofia was diagnosed with type 2 bi-polar aged 18.

She has been relying on NHS mental health services for the last 9 years.

Here she talks about her experience:

The  findings by Natcen come at the same time another inquiry declared that mental health services in England must stop sending severely ill adults for treatment in hospitals that are long distances from their homes and families.

The independent commission- headed by former NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp- has found that due to local bed shortages, about 500 patients a month are having to travel more than 31 miles for care in psychiatric wards.

The commission report also stated that there is a distinct lack of alternate care services available in local communities and this is something that needs to be addressed.

The report proposed a pledge from government that patients face a maximum four-hour wait for admission to an acute ward, or for home-based treatment.

This is as well as fewer delayed discharges from hospitals, and more housing to help those in short-term crisis, or needing longer-term care.

The commissioning panel also stated that there had to be more investment into home-based treatment and a greater input from patients and carers about the services they use.

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