New polling data from the Health Foundation and Ipsos has found that overall public confidence in using NHS services is returning, with around three-quarters (77%) of people reporting they would be comfortable using a hospital – a significant increase from 52% in May.
However, the poll also found that concerns about using hospitals is greater among some of the groups worst affected by COVID-19, with more than one in four (28%) people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and more than a third (34%) of people with a disability saying they would feel uncomfortable about using their local hospital, compared with just over one in five overall (22%).
People from BAME backgrounds are also less likely to report having used a health service since the beginning of lockdown (36% compared to 42% of the population as a whole) and are more likely to have considered using a service for a health issue but decided not to (9% compared with 5% overall).
The survey shows that people feel more confident about using local GP services – with 89% saying they would feel comfortable and just 10% saying they would feel uncomfortable (down from 20% of people who reported feeling uncomfortable doing so in May).
Of those who would feel uncomfortable, the risk of catching or being exposed to COVID-19 was the most cited reason why (53% for GP services and 72% for hospitals)1.
The July survey was conducted by telephone on the Ipsos CATI Omnibus survey, a weekly telephone omnibus survey of a representative sample of people aged 18 and over in Great Britain. Fieldwork took place between 17th July and 29th July 2020. A total of 2,246 people were interviewed. For the main sample, quotas were set on age, gender, Government Office Region and working status. In addition to the people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds interviewed as part of the main sample, a booster survey was conducted. The sample includes a total of 423 interviews conducted with BAME participants.
For the overall July findings, data has been weighted to the known population proportions for age within gender, Government Office Region and working status and social grade. For the BAME findings, data has been weighted to the known population proportions for age, gender, Government Office Region, working status and social grade.
The May survey was also conducted via telephone on the Ipsos CATI Omnibus survey. A total of 1,983 people were interviewed between 1st and 10th May 2020. Where questions were repeated in the July survey, these have been included in the report against the May data for comparison, with significant differences commented upon.
Note: 1Respondents were asked to give an unprompted answer to this question.