A MAJORITY of Scots remain satisfied with public services in the country despite faith in the NHS falling since the pandemic, according to a major survey.

The 2021 Scottish Household Survey shows that 78% of Scots were satisfied with local health services in their area that year.

However, that represents a 10-point drop since 2020 – although the report notes that the high level of satisfaction recorded at that time (88%) may be due to coronavirus pandemic.

“The high satisfaction levels in 2020 may have been influenced by positive perceptions of the response of local health services to Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic,” the reported stated.

The drop was said to be one of the key factors behind overall satisfaction levels with three key public services – health, education and public transport – falling from 61% to 55%.

The report said: “Fifty-five per cent represents a significant decrease in combined satisfaction from 2020, where combined satisfaction was 61%.”

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The survey also found a quarter (25%) of people did not trust the Scottish Government.

A slightly higher number (27%) said they did not trust their local council, while almost a fifth (18%) did not trust the justice system.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said: “These statistics show that the majority of people surveyed were satisfied with their housing and local services including healthcare, and saw their neighbourhood as a good place to live.”

People in around 10,000 households were interviewed for the 2021 Scottish Household Survey, with the research being done by telephone and video interview due to Covid-19.

While 78% of Scots were satisfied with local health services in 2021, less than three-quarters (74%) were satisfied with local schools and 70% were satisfied with public transport.

Satisfaction with services was higher in towns and cities – with 58% of people in large urban areas describing themselves as satisfied with health services, schools and transport compared to 48% of those living in rural areas.

This was largely due to much lower levels of satisfaction with public transport in rural areas, which were at 44% compared to 78% in urban communities.

Meanwhile, satisfaction levels in the least deprived parts of Scotland were only slightly higher than in the most deprived areas – with 58% of those living in affluent areas happy with health, education and public transport compared to 55% in the poorest communities.

Overall, the overwhelming majority of adults (96%) rated their neighbourhood as either a very good or fairly good place to live – with this said to be consistent with the results in 2020.

But people living in the least deprived areas were much more likely to class their neighbourhood as a very good place to live (80%) than those living in the most deprived areas (30%).

Robison added that the survey had provided “an insight into how people lived during the last phase of the pandemic and their interaction with public services as we entered the recovery period”.

She said: “The Scottish Government is focused on the three critical missions we have set out around equality, opportunity and community to improve the lives for people across the country over the next three years, by tackling the issues which matter most, protecting people as far as possible from the harm inflicted by UK Government policies and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

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“These missions will define the work of this Government as we deliver the public services that our communities rely upon, increase quality, and drive opportunity for the people of Scotland and our businesses.”

But Labour finance spokesperson Michael Marra said: “From our NHS to our schools to our communities, every single public service in Scotland has been left weaker after 16 years of SNP failure.

“Instead of rebuilding from the pandemic, they have let services decline.

“People are sick of paying the price for SNP incompetence – it’s clearer than ever that Scotland needs change.”