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Public perceptions of the NHS

We commissioned independent researchers BritainThinks to conduct an online survey of 1240 adults living in England to question their perceptions of the NHS as of June 2016.


Key findings

Public perceptions of the NHS

  • This research shows growing discontent with the way the NHS is being run. 37% are dissatisfied with the running of the NHS, compared with 21% this time last year.
  • Compounding this, the public are far more pessimistic about the future of the NHS this year. 53% of the public think it is going to get worse, and only 29% think it will get better.
  • There are also strong indications that the public do not trust the government's motivations in the way it runs the NHS, nor its ability to do so effectively. 58% say they they do not trust the government with the management of the NHS.
  • And 48% disagree that this government genuinely cares about the NHS.
  • A large majority (81%) say that ring-fencing NHS funding is not enough, and that the government should increase the amount of money received by the NHS.


Public perceptions of public health

  • Looking at public health funding, 75% say they are concerned about cuts to Local Authority public health budgets.

Read more about our work on public and population health


Public perceptions of seven-day services

  • Although a slight majority (53%) of the public think the government's aim of a seven-day NHS is the right priority, almost two thirds (64%) think that the government has not provided a convincing answer to the crucial questions of how to (a) staff, and (b) fund it.

Read more about our work on seven day services


Key results

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

  • The NHS is moving in the right direction = 17% agree / 52% disagree
  • I trust this government with the management of the NHS = 18% agree / 58% disagree

Public survey graphs

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

  • The government's policies are leading to growing discontent across the NHS workforce = 77% agree / 5% disagree

Public survey graphs 

To what extent do you agree with the following statements:

  • At present, the NHS cannot afford to deliver seven-day services in its hospitals = 69% agree / 9% disagree
  • The government has not yet done enough to explain to the public what it means by a "truly 7-day NHS" = 66% agree / 12% disagree
  • Providing more hospital services at the weekends should not mean that fewer services are available during the week = 79% agree / 5% disagree

Public survey graphs 


Full results

Britain Thinks survey results - June 2016 (PDF)