The Health Foundation has joined forces with Ipsos to undertake a two-year research initiative focused on studying public expectations and attitudes toward health and social care. The approach involves conducting surveys every six months, polling a representative sample of the UK population using Ipsos’ UK KnowledgePanel, which is an online panel based on random probability.
In this summary, six key findings have been presented from the fourth wave of polling, which shed light on how the public perceives the NHS at its 75th anniversary and their expectations for the future:
- 54% of British citizens in Great Britain take pride in the NHS, ranking it above other national aspects like history, culture, and democracy.
- Among those proud of the NHS, around 55% appreciate its free and affordable healthcare funded by taxes, while 36% value its equal access and treatment for all.
- Only 25% of the public believe healthcare will remain entirely free in the next decade, with 51% expecting some currently free services to require payment.
- The public doubts the NHS’s readiness to handle upcoming health challenges, especially meeting demands from an aging population (77%), addressing climate change impacts (61%), and keeping up with technology (51%). However, they are more confident in its preparedness for future pandemics (47%).
- The main causes for strain on NHS services, according to public opinion, are a lack of funding (40%), staff shortages (38%), and poor government policies (35%).
- Approximately 72% of the public views the NHS as vital to British society and urges efforts to sustain it, but this is a decline from 77% in May 2022.
- An overwhelming majority (80%) advocates for increased NHS funding, while only 17% believe it should operate within its current budget. The most supported options for funding are an additional NHS tax (31%), higher National Insurance contributions (22%), and increased Income Tax (21%).
The survey was conducted from May 5th to 10th, 2023, using Ipsos’ UK Knowledge Panel—a random probability online panel. It involved 2,450 individuals aged 16 and above from across the UK, with a 56% response rate. It covers public perceptions of the NHS, including pride, future expectations, challenges, strain factors, maintenance opinions, and funding views.