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The truth about public attitudes to the NHS

The NHS is thawing out after a winter of planned elective surgery cancellations and reports of a capacity crisis. The second instalment of the Populus/ Hanover Health Tracker explores public perceptions of the NHS.

February

Performance perceptions

Media coverage of a perceived winter crisis appears to have had little affect on the public’s satisfaction levels, with the number of those satisfied with the NHS growing slightly from 60% to 62% this month.

Perceptions of NHS structure and improvements have also held steady. Over a third (39%) agree that the NHS will continue to provide a comprehensive service free at the point of care in 10 years’ time. The number of respondents who agreed that NHS services had improved over the last 5 years remains the same at 25%.

The research shows that the public is concerned about A&E departments. The percentage of people who disagree that A&E departments are suitably staffed to deliver high-quality care increased by 4% this month (up to 59%).

The generation gap

February’s instalment of the Populus Hanover Health Tracker finds that overall satisfaction rates among older generations are remaining high. Over two thirds (68%) of those aged 65+ agree that they are satisfied with the service. Since our last update, there’s been a 16% increase in satisfaction levels among the 55-64 year old age group.

Of all respondents, just over a third (37%) say they agree that Brexit will have a negative impact on the NHS; 29% disagree. The sentiment is felt strongest among the younger generations, with over half (56%) of 18-24 year olds agreeing that Brexit will have a negative impact on the organisation. This goes against the general overall trend of optimism among this age group.

The outlook of those aged 55-64 has become more pessimistic than previously, rising from 28% to 31% agreeing that Brexit will have a negative impact on the NHS.

View the full Data Tables here.

Methodology:

Populus interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,071 UK adults aged 18+ between 29 and 30 January 2018.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.

January

To mark 70 years of the NHS, Hanover is undertaking regular tracking of public opinion regarding the NHS, exploring satisfaction and attitudes of the standard of care provided.

The organisation, which in 2014 was rated the best system in comparison to 10 others by the Commonwealth Fund, enjoys a fair level of public satisfaction despite a perceived lack of improvement.

Over two thirds (71%) of the UK public agree that the NHS is a world-class health service, and 68% agree that the NHS provides comprehensive and accessible high quality care. Public opinion stalls when it comes to improvements. Just 25% of those surveyed believe services have improved over the last five years; a total of 39% disagreed that they had improved at all.

When it comes to GP surgeries, over half (58%) agree that the NHS provides high quality GP care that is easy and convenient to access. The outlook is gloomier for A&E departments. The research shows that just 25% of the UK public agree that NHS A&E departments are suitably staffed to deliver high quality and timely care.

The NHS generation gap

The findings highlight differences between the age groups when it comes to opinions on the NHS. Those aged 65+ are most satisfied with the NHS (65% agreeing) while the 18-24 year old age group is the second most satisfied with the NHS.

Social care is a worry for older generations, with over a third (39%) of over 65’s disagreeing that adult social care services provide a good standard of care for those who need it. Overall, 37% of people believe that adult social care services are inadequate, compared to 25% who think they do provide a good standard of care.

And what about the NHS of the future?

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, attention may turn to the NHS and how it could be affected. Populus research shows that 38% of the public agree that the impact of Brexit on the NHS will be negative, with 26% disagreeing, and 16% of the public saying they did not know.

View the full Data Tables here.

Methodology:

Populus interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,183 UK adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 6 – 7 December 2017.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.

Populus is relied upon by businesses, research agencies and government bodies as a cost-effective way of uncovering the insight they need to target even the most hard-to-reach groups in the UK and 75 other countries worldwide. Find out more by calling (0)20 7553 4149 or emailing info@populus.co.uk.

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