The latest instalment of the Hanover Health Tracker charts the UK public’s growing confidence in the NHS in its 70th year. Since the summer there has been continued national focus on health with a new Health Secretary taking forward a new agenda of reform, the development of a long term plan and debate about the impact of the £20.5 billion funding increase. Satisfaction rates have remained broadly high, however, there are some specific areas where the public appear to be becoming somewhat more concerned as the NHS enters the winter period.
Our national poll of over 2,000 adults from across the UK, conducted in partnership with Populus, confirms that while satisfaction has fallen a little since the summer, attitudes remain more positive than at the start of the year.
Slight dip in public satisfaction
Public sentiment for the NHS remains high with 66% of respondents satisfied with the health service, whilst 74% agree that the NHS is a world class health service. Although there is a slight dip from the 69% overall satisfaction rate we saw in July, satisfaction remains higher than in Hanover’s first Tracker released in January (62%). Those aged 65 and over continue to be the most satisfied, whilst those aged 18-24 most displeased. Similarly, 72% of the public agrees that the “the NHS provides comprehensive and accessible high quality care”, slightly down from July, but still higher than at the start of the year when 68% of the public agreed.
Confidence in the future remains high
Optimism that the NHS will remain free at the point of access in ten years’ time stands at 46%,
down from the 53% seen in July, but still up from the start of the year (39%). Older people continue to remain the most positive for the health service. Looking back, however, the public now regard services less positively. Only 29% of people agreed that NHS services have improved in the last five years, down from the 31% in July.
Satisfaction of services in general falls and A&E remains a concern for many
Public satisfaction with A&E remains low. Only 24% of the public agreed that NHS A&E departments are suitably staffed to deliver high quality and timely care, compared to 25% in Hanover’s first Tracker. There is also rising concern within primary care, with only 57% of the public, compared to 64% in July, agreeing that the NHS provides high quality GP care that is convenient and easy to access.
Positivity concerning access to medicines
Positivity concerning the NHS being “able to ensure patients can access the latest medicines” had a slight decrease in October, falling from the previous high of 47% in July to 42%. Yet this is still higher than in Hanover’s January Tracker when only 39% of the public agreed. Younger people are the most optimistic with 56% backing the NHS’ ability to provide the latest medicines; this optimism falls consistently as people got older.
Views on Brexit’s impact on the NHS unchanged
October has seen continued public interest on the impact Brexit will have on the NHS with 38% agreeing it will have a negative impact compared to 25% who disagree. This is comparable to public attitudes at the start of the year with a similar proportion of the population neither agreeing nor disagreeing, or not knowing. Young people are still most concerned, with 50% of 18-24 and 25-34 year olds agreeing that Brexit will have a negative impact, compared to only 26% of over 65s.
Public satisfaction with social care stable but still low
In October, 28% of the public agreed that “adult social care services provide a good standard of care to those who use it”. Public approval has remained relatively consistent with satisfaction levels of 29% and 25% in January and December polls respectively. The younger demographics continue to have a more positive outlook on social care with voters under 34 on average 35% satisfied compared with 23.5% of over 45s.
Populus interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,079 UK adults aged 18+ online between 12-14 October 2018. Populus previously interviewed a representative sample of 2,057 UK adults between 6-8 July 2018, 2,071 UK adults between 29-30 January, 2,183 UK adults between 6-7 December 2017 and 2,078 UK adults between 11-13 May. Surveys were conducted across the UK with results weighted to the known profile of all UK adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.
For more information on the Hanover Health Tracker please contact Thomas Cawston at firstname.lastname@example.org.