This site is intended for health professionals only

Only a tenth of people support the Government’s NHS plan, polling finds

Only a tenth of people support the Government’s NHS plan, polling finds

Only a tenth of people in the UK think the Government has the right policies for managing the NHS, with strong differences across England, Scotland and Wales, according to the findings of a poll.

Almost two-thirds of people think the standard of care in the NHS will get worse in the next year – a figure which has jumped from 39% in May 2022.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos for the Health Foundation think-tank in November, shows that public support for Government NHS policy in England is the lowest in two decades.

In England just 8% of people think the Government has the right health policies, compared with 28% in Scotland and 19% in Wales, indicating stark variance in public support across the UK.

However, support for the NHS’s founding principles was high, with 90% of people believing the NHS should be free at the point of care and 84% reinforcing the need for taxation as its primary funding source.

A similarly high proportion of people (84%) think more funding is needed to combat the issues facing the NHS, and 40% of people think alleviating pressure on NHS staff is a top priority.

Tim Gardner, a senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation, said: ‘The public has sent a clear message to Government to increase funding for the NHS and address issues like long waits, high staff vacancies and pressure on doctors, nurses and other staff.’

He added: ‘There has been much debate in recent months about changing the NHS funding model – such as charging for GP appointments or a switch to social insurance.

‘As well as being a costly distraction, there is no evidence voters want a radical change to the NHS model, they just want the current one to work better.’

While the Government ministers have now said that only a 3.5% raise for nurses would be affordable next year, the polling revealed strong public support for increased funding for the NHS.

Of those polled 82% think the NHS needs an increase in funding. Support for increasing funding was also common among different political groups, including 63% of conservative voters and the overwhelming majority of Labour voters (94%).

Ipsos surveyed 2,063 people, stratified by nation and education, and received a 58% response rate.

A version of this article first appeared in our sister paper Pulse


See how our symptom tool can help you make better sense of patient presentations
Click here to search a symptom