Video from CPP on the day-long deliberative event

 “Populus worked seamlessly with our team to prepare a fantastic public deliberation event within a tight timeframe. Participants were engaged and energised throughout, aided by the structure and planning of the sessions and the quality of Populus’s facilitators on the day. The level of insight that followed was reflected in Populus’s comprehensive analysis and captured in our video footage and voxpops. With thanks to Sonia, Celia and the team for their professionalism, expertise and collaboration in timely dissemination of the findings.”

Charlotte Alldritt, Director of the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP)

This July marked the 70th anniversary of the NHS and only the month before, the Prime Minister gifted the health service an early birthday present of an extra £20.5 billion investment. The then Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “This historic long-term funding boost recognises the superhuman efforts made by staff over the last few years to maintain services in the face of rapidly growing demandBut it also presents a big opportunity for the NHS to write an entirely new chapter in its history.”

The Challenge

CPP, The Centre for Progressive Policy, wanted to find out more about public attitudes towards health and social care. They wanted in-depth insights with a quick turnaround to feed into their 12-month inquiry on health and social care.

The Centre for Progressive Policy is an independent and impartial organisation that works to devise ‘effective, pragmatic policy solutions to drive productivity and shared prosperity in the UK’. Find out more about the CPP here.

Populus conducted a day-long deliberative event with 50 members of the general public to understand where the public thinks the extra money promised by government should be spent. This research formed part of CPP’s 12-month inquiry on health and social care, alongside its quantitative analysis, Diagnosis Critical

What we did

Throughout the day, participants were asked a series of questions about health and social care funding and reform. In discussion, the public felt that the NHS could get better value by reducing waste and cutting numbers of non‐clinical staff. Reducing reliance on agency workers and restricting use of NHS services for non‐UK citizens were most commonly cited ways to find further savings.

After deliberation, participants were asked to vote on where to spend additional government investment: should it be spent on improving health and social care services, on keeping people healthy throughout their lives, or on a combined approach?

This approach led to in-depth insights that the CPP used to inform their report.

The aims of this day-long deliberative event:

Participants were recruited from areas local to Watford to ensure the 50 participants were broadly representative of the GB population in terms of:

Participants were also recruited to ensure:

Exclusions were made to ensure that:

The results

This new research from the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) and Populus shows that the public are unaware of the extent of the NHS cash shortfall and struggle with the idea that the extra funding promised would be insufficient given the increasing demand pressures on the NHS.

Following a detailed discussion, participants were asked to vote whether to spend additional government spending on improving health and social care services, keeping people healthy throughout their lives, or a combined approach. The majority of participants (78%) voted for a combined approach.

However, when forced to decide between the two options, most suggested the money should be spent on health and social care services. While there was recognition that community services and social/economic infrastructure were important for improving people’s health, and that prevention was important, there was a sense amongst the participants that this was already happening and so did not require prioritisation. They also believed that many community activities were not within the government or NHS’s remit.

It was clear from discussions that there is a genuine worry among the public about the real-life impacts that an insufficiently funded NHS would have on their own health and well being.

Charlotte Alldritt, Director of CPP, draws attention to the fact that the public expect to see tangible results from extra funding injected into the NHS:

“It’s abundantly clear that the public will not accept that any new money injected into the NHS simply allows the service to stand still. They expect to see new facilities, with world-class equipment and wards run by well-paid nursing NHS staff.”

Populus is a full service research and strategy consultancy unlocks the Critical Knowledge that brands need to better understand the world around us. We add value to our findings by applying expert analysis to uncover clear, actionable insight. Find out more by calling 020 7253 9900 or emailing