The January 2017 Ipsos MORI/Economist Issues Index shows increasing public concern about the NHS, with almost half (49%) of the British public considering it to be one of the biggest issues facing Britain. Concern has risen nine percentage points since December, and is now at the highest level recorded since April 2003. Fieldwork occurred between 13th and 26th January 2017.
The proportion seeing the EU/Brexit as a big issue has also risen strongly – now 41% see this as a concern, a similar level to July last year, in the immediate aftermath of the referendum result (40%). This month’s result is also the highest score since April 1997.
Still however, Brexit leads when the public are asked to name the single biggest issue facing Britain. On this measure, 27% of the public cite Brexit, and 17% say the NHS. One third of men (33%) and four in ten of those from social grades AB (41%) name Brexit as the single biggest issue facing Britain.
The proportion who name the NHS as one of the biggest issues facing Britain is high amongst nearly all demographic groups, with particular spikes amongst women (53%), those aged over 65 (55%) and suburban-dwellers (54%).
It is the biggest issue across all social grade and age groupings, with the exception of those aged 55+ and from social grades ABC1. Amongst this group it is joint-top with Brexit.
Ipsos MORI's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning the country. Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 970 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The questions are spontaneous - i.e. respondents are not prompted with any answers.
Ipsos MORI's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home between 13th and 26th January 2017 at 196 sampling points across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.