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, warns the British Medical Association (BMA).
A survey of 1,240 people in England carried out ahead of the BMA’s annual representative meeting, which begins in Belfast on 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.’