Public backs the NHS and additional funding to support it

The public backs 'doing everything to maintain' NHS and believes additional investment is needed to support it.

The author(s)

  • Kate Duxbury Public Affairs
  • Spencer Rutherford Public Affairs
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The Health Foundation has partnered with Ipsos to deliver a 2-year programme of research into public expectations and perceptions of health and social care. Every 6 months, we poll a representative sample of the UK public using the UK KnowledgePanel – Ipsos’ random probability online panel.

The findings from the second survey show:

  • The public is pessimistic about the state of the NHS. The majority (55%) think the general standard of care has got worse in the past 12 months. Across the UK as a whole, just 13% think their national government has the right policies for the NHS. But the public points to priorities for future policy: reducing waiting times for routine hospital treatment and expanding and supporting the workforce are their top priorities for the NHS. The public supports a mix of measures to fix NHS staffing issues, even if they mean extra public spending.
  • The public is also pessimistic about adult social care, although less so than in November 2021. The majority (56%) think standards have got worse over the past 12 months. Looking ahead, 43% think standards will deteriorate further. Only 15% of the public thinks social care services in their local area are good.
  • The public wants a better health service, not a departure from the NHS model. 77% believe, ‘The NHS is crucial to British society and we must do everything to maintain it.’ And they back additional spending to support it: 71% think greater government investment in the NHS is necessary over and above new funds raised through the levy.
  • The public is also deeply concerned about the impacts of rising costs of living on the nation’s health. 57% think rising living costs are a high or very high threat to the health of UK citizens. 72% believe overall health and wellbeing has declined in the past 12 months. However, they are less concerned about the threat of increases to the cost of living to their own personal health (22% think they pose a high or very high threat to their health).

Technical note

The survey was conducted between 26 May and 1 June 2022 using Ipsos's UK KnowledgePanel. We surveyed 2,068 people aged 16 years and older in the UK. The survey covers a range of public perceptions including: expectations and perceptions of the NHS and social care; priorities for the NHS; perceptions of how to address the elective care backlog and workforce shortages; awareness and support for a ‘net zero’ NHS; views of general practice and its challenges; financial preparedness for social care; perceptions of public spending on the NHS and social care including the health and social care levy and social care cap; and perceptions of the nation’s health and public health policies, including government handling of the pandemic.

The author(s)

  • Kate Duxbury Public Affairs
  • Spencer Rutherford Public Affairs

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