What does the public think about the NHS?

The Kings Fund commissioned Ipsos MORI to carry out a public survey asking:

  1. What do the public think the NHS is for?
  2. How has this changed over time?
  3. What drives the relationship between the NHS and the public?
  4. Are public expectations changing?
  5. Where does the balance of responsibility for health lie between the NHS and the individual?

Key messages from this piece of work:

  • While some people (29 per cent) say decisions about the availability of treatments and services should be left to qualified health professionals, 56 per cent at least want to be consulted and a minority (14 per cent) want to be actively involved. This underlines the importance of engaging the public and ensuring that service changre supported and led by clinicians.
  •  Sixty-seven per cent think that treatments and services should only be available on the NHS if they are available to everyone and not dependent on where people live, while 31 per cent think that treatments and services should be based on local need.
  • Sixty-five per cent believe that keeping healthy is primarily down to the individual, with just 7 per cent placing this responsibility with the NHS. While this only skims the surface of very a complex issue, it suggests there is a debate to be had about what people can expect from the NHS and their obligations in return.

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