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Ageing and public satisfaction with the health service: an analysis of recent trends


  • Calnan, Michael
  • Almond, Stephen
  • Smith, Nick


One possible explanation for the positive relationship between age and public and user views of health care is that it reflects a generational effect and this relationship has changed over the last decade or so. The analysis carried out in this report examines the relationship between ageing and levels of satisfaction with the health service in the UK using pooled data from the British Social Attitudes Survey, 1983-99. At the descriptive level there is strong evidence of a positive trend between age and satisfaction with general practice and hospital services, and for how the NHS is run but not for NHS primary dental services. Also, when comparing 1983 with 1999 data, there is evidence of a shift down in satisfaction levels for all of these indicators with the widest gap in inpatient services. At the multivariate level there is some evidence to suggest that, over time, the older population value how the NHS is run and GP and dental services at a slightly higher rate compared with the younger population, but the effect is small. This 'age/cohort' interaction effect is, however, negative for inpatient and outpatient services. These findings show little evidence of marked changes in attitude among the elderly or that the elderly are becoming more critical and less positive in their attitude to health care in the UK. The theoretical and methodological implications of these findings are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Calnan, Michael & Almond, Stephen & Smith, Nick, 2003. "Ageing and public satisfaction with the health service: an analysis of recent trends," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 757-762, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:4:p:757-762

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:jet:dpaper:dpaper391 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Footman, Katharine & Roberts, Bayard & Mills, Anne & Richardson, Erica & McKee, Martin, 2013. "Public satisfaction as a measure of health system performance: A study of nine countries in the former Soviet Union," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 62-69.
    3. Legido-Quigley, Helena & Nolte, Ellen & Green, Judith & la Parra, Daniel & McKee, Martin, 2012. "The health care experiences of British pensioners migrating to Spain: A qualitative study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 46-54.


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