The NHS overtakes inflation to become the biggest issue facing Britain

The February 2024 Issues Index reveals a rise in concern about the NHS to become the most mentioned important issue facing the county

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs
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  • A third of Britons see the NHS as a big issue for the country, only the second time it has topped the list since the Covid-19 pandemic 
  • Twenty-nine per cent name the economy as an important issue for Britain 
  • Concern about inflation has dropped six points since January, with a quarter mentioning it as a big concern
  • However, the economy and inflation remain the two single most important issues

The February 2024 Ipsos Issues Index reveals that concerns about the NHS have surpassed worries about inflation to become the most mentioned important issue facing Britain.

Thirty-four per cent of Britons say the NHS is a big concern for the country, an increase of three percentage points since January. This is only the second time the NHS has topped the Issues Index since February 2020, immediately before the Covid-19 pandemic (the other time was in January 2023).

Concern about the economy remains significant, with around three in ten (29%) mentioning it as an issue. Concern remains relatively unchanged since last month, seeing a small decrease of two percentage points.  

The proportion mentioning inflation as a big issue has dropped six points since January. Mentioned by a quarter of Britons (26%), it is now the third-biggest issue for the county.

Concern about immigration has also fallen, down five points since January. However, it remains the fourth-biggest issue for Britons, mentioned by 18%.

Economic concerns do though remain top when Britons are asked to pick their single most important issue, with 16% choosing the economy and 15% inflation, followed by the NHS and immigration at 10% each.

Elsewhere in the ranking, poverty and inequality is now the fifth-biggest issue for Britons, mentioned by 15%. Meanwhile, concern about housing and defence and foreign affairs have both dropped three points to 13% and 11% respectively. 


There are clear differences in priorities between Labour and Conservative supporters. Labour supporters are more likely to mention the NHS (42%, vs 27% of Conservatives), poverty/inequality (19% vs 9%), the environment/climate change (22% vs 8%), lack of faith in politics/government (16% vs 2%) and education (16% vs 4%) as important issues. Conservatives are more likely to mention immigration (24% vs 9% of Labour) and defence/foreign affairs (22% vs 10%).  

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos, said:

The top four most important issues facing the country in the eyes of the public – the NHS, economy, inflation and immigration – have remained steady for some time.  But there has been a change in their relative emphasis, with the NHS creeping up over the last few months while concern about inflation has been drifting down.  But economic concerns overall are still crucial, and shared by voters on both sides – unlike other issues where there is more of a divide

Technical note
Ipsos' Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,008 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The answers are spontaneous responses, and participants are not prompted with any answers. 
Ipsos’ telephone omnibus was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted between 7 and 13 February 2024. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

The author(s)
  • Michael Clemence Trends & Foresight
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs

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