Background: Fifteen years ago, public opinion surveys in Spain showed substantial dissatisfaction with the health-care system. Since that time, health-care in Spain has undergone significant changes, including a decentralization of the system, an increase in spending and a change in the way the system is financed. Objective: This study examines how Spanish citizens rate the performance of their health system today, both as compared with other sectors of society and as compared with earlier time periods. Methods: Data are drawn from nationally representative telephone surveys of the non-institutionalized adult Spanish population (age 18 years and over). The study was carried out in two phases: October-November 2005 (n = 3010) and January 2006 (n = 2101). Results: The majority of the Spanish population thinks the health system needs to be changed. The problems cited relate mostly to long wait times to get health-care. Nevertheless, over the last 15 years, the proportion of people who have very negative views about the health system has decreased by half. The majority believes that not enough money is spent on health-care, but few people would support an increase in taxes to provide additional funding. The survey finds the National Health System's institutions and health professionals to be more highly trusted than other institutions and professional groups in the country. Conclusions: Government policy-makers in Spain face a dilemma: the public wants more health spending to decrease wait times, but there is substantial resistance to increasing taxes as a means to finance improvements in the system's capacity. © 2007 The Authors.
- Public opinion