Public concern for the state of the NHS has reached its highest level in 15 years, an Ipsos Mori study has found.
The January 2017 Ipsos MORI/Economist Issues Index found that public concern about the NHS has spiked. Almost half (49%) of the British public consider it to be one of the biggest issues facing Britain, alongside Brexit.
The number of people who consider the state of the NHS as one of the country Britain is high amongst nearly all demographic groups particularly among women, 53% of whom are worried for the future of the health service. Additionally, 55% of those aged over 65, and 54% those who live in suburban areas, cited the NHS as one of their largest concerns. It is the one of the most prominent issues across all social grades and age groupings, with the exception of those aged over 55 and from the highest socioeconomic grade. Among this group it is joint-top with Brexit.
Ipsos Mori interviewed 970 adults aged 18 and over as part of the poll, which assesses the public mood on major issues.
‘These results show the public are increasingly concerned about the pressures facing the NHS and should be a wakeup call for ministers,’ said Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund.
According to the King’s Fund, underfunding of the NHS has led to this situation. The organisaion has said that there is little work being done to ensure that the NHS remains capable of meeting demand without real-terms increases to its budget.
‘The government needs to be honest about what the health service can deliver with its budget. If it wants to maintain current standards, it will need to look again at NHS funding in future financial statements. In particular, the pressures will peak in 2018/19 and 2019/20, when there is almost no planned growth in real-terms NHS funding,’ added Mr Ham.
In terms of the single biggest concern of the public, 17% say the NHS, compared with 27% who think Brexit poses the biggest challenge.