The vast majority of the public are worried about the future of the NHS and a majority believe it is heading in the wrong direction. A survey of 1,240 people in England carried out ahead of the BMA’s annual representative meeting, which begins tomorrow, Monday, also found that fewer than one in five people trust the government with the NHS.

The survey found that:

  • Almost eight in ten (78 per cent) are worried about the future of the NHS
  • A majority (52 per cent) do not believe the NHS is going in the right direction
  • Fewer than one in five (18 per cent) trust the government with the management of the NHS
  • Around one in four (28 per cent) believe the government genuinely cares about the NHS but almost half (48 per cent) do not
  • More than half (53 per cent) believe the NHS is going to get worse over the next few years
  • Only one in eight (13 per cent) believe the government is giving the NHS the money it needs
  • More than three in four (77 per cent) believe the government’s policies are leading to growing discontent across the NHS workforce

On the issue of seven-day NHS services, the survey found that:

  • Almost seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe the NHS cannot currently afford to deliver seven-day hospital services
  • A vast majority (79 per cent) believe that providing more hospital services at the weekend should not mean a reduction in weekday services
  • Only one in 10 (11 per cent) believe the government has done enough to explain how it will pay for a seven-day service
  • Only one in eight (13 per cent) believe the government has done enough to explain to how it will staff a seven-day service

Commenting on the findings Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said:

“Public confidence in the government’s management of the NHS is extremely low. People are increasingly concerned about the future of a health service that they know is under unsustainable pressure. There is a gulf between the government’s promises on the NHS and what the public believe to be true. Everyone agrees that the NHS needs to grow and change, yet there is no long-term plan to address the crisis in our health service. It’s little wonder that many people question the government’s commitment to the NHS and believe it is going in the wrong direction.”

The survey of 1,240 adults in England was carried out between 7th and 9th June 2016 by BritainThinks. The survey data was weighted to reflect the English population in terms of age, gender, region and social class.

Thinking about the NHS over the next few years do you expect it to:

  • Get better: 14%
  • Get worse: 53%
  • Stay the same: 28%
  • Don’t know: 5%

Looking at the statements below, say how far you agree or disagree with each one:

The NHS is moving the right direction

  • Agree: 17%
  • Disagree: 52%
  • Neither: 28%
  • Don’t know: 4%

I am worried about the future of the NHS

  • Agree: 78%
  • Disagree: 10%
  • Neither: 11%
  • Don’t know: 1%

I trust the government with the management of the NHS

  • Agree: 18%
  • Disagree: 58%
  • Neither: 22%
  • Don’t know: 2%

The government genuinely care about the NHS

  • Agree: 28%
  • Disagree: 48%
  • Neither: 21%
  • Don’t know: 3%

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement “the government’s policies are leading to growing discontent across the NHS workforce”?

  • Agree: 77%
  • Disagree: 5%
  • Neither: 15%
  • Don’t know: 4%

How far do you agree with the following statements:

The government is giving the NHS the money it needs

  • Agree: 13%
  • Disagree: 66%
  • Neither: 17%
  • Don’t know: 5%

The government is not being honest with the public about how much money the NHS is receiving

  • Agree: 55%
  • Disagree: 12%
  • Neither: 20%
  • Don’t know: 13%

The government has not yet done enough to explain to the public what it means by a truly seven-day NHS

  • Agree: 66%
  • Disagree: 12%
  • Neither: 17%
  • Don’t know: 5%

At present, the NHS cannot afford to deliver seven-day services in its hospitals

  • Agree: 69%
  • Disagree: 9%
  • Neither: 14%
  • Don’t know: 7%

Providing more hospital services at the weekends should not mean that fewer services are available during the week

  • Agree: 79%
  • Disagree: 5%
  • Neither: 12%
  • Don’t know: 3%

The government has done enough to explain to the public how it plans to pay for a seven-day NHS

  • Agree: 11%
  • Disagree: 64%
  • Neither: 18%
  • Don’t know: 7%

The government has done enough to explain to the public how it plans to staff a seven-day NHS

  • Agree: 13%
  • Disagree: 64%
  • Neither: 16%
  • Don’t know: 6%
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