NHS building

New public research shows improving waiting times is top priority

The Latest findings from the Ipsos MORI UK Knowledge Panel, showed that over two in five expected the general standard of care to get better, and the public’s top priority for the NHS was to improve waiting times.

The new polling - conducted ahead of a webinar co-hosted with the Health Foundation - shows that 75% of British adults consider NHS England as one of the best in the world, while over six in ten (63%) UK adults say they are satisfied with the running of the NHS nowadays.

As concerns about the pandemic have continued to decrease, over two in five (44%) people said they think the standard of care provided by the NHS will get better over the next 12 months, while a third (35%) think it will stay the same, and fewer than one in five (17%) thought it would get worse.

The amount who thought it would get worse was at 17% as of March 2021, which has decreased since May last year, when it was 25%.

Anna Quigley, Head of Health and Social Care at Ipsos MORI, said: “These results show yet again the pride that the public has in the NHS, no doubt bolstered by its work during the pandemic.

“However, the data also shows the challenges that lie ahead for the NHS in terms of public expectations, at a time when the service is facing a backlog of elective surgery cases, increased demand for mental health services, and the ongoing impact of caring for patients affected by Covid-19.”

In particular, the public’s top priority for the NHS was to improve waiting times. Half said this should be prioritised when the impact of the pandemic has eased, along with 43% voting to increase the number of staff in the NHS, and 41% viewing vaccinating people against Covid-19 as a priority.

Supporting the wellbeing of NHS staff was also important to people too (38%), as was improving mental health services generally (36%).

The public recognised the impact of the pandemic on services, with 85% saying that waiting times are longer than before the pandemic. At the same time, six in ten (61%) said that current waiting times were unacceptable.

This data will be discussed as part of a Health Foundation webinar on ‘how the public mood will shape care after the pandemic’ at 11:45 on 15 April. You can register for the event here.

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