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Public support for NHS reforms takes a dive

The public is becoming more pessimistic over the impact of the Government’s changes to the NHS, with 43% saying they thought things would get worse under their reforms, a Department of Health commissioned poll reveals.

The Ipsos Mori poll of 1,015 people found 69% were happy with the running of the NHS, but a quarter of people said they thought the NHS reforms would mean cuts to services and 15% said they thought more of the services would be provided by the private sector.

Seven in ten mentioned either of these changes meant services would get worse.

The public was split over the outlook for the NHS, with 35% saying they thought things would get better and 32% making a bleak prognosis for the NHS over the next few years.

Some 43% said they expected the Government’s reforms to make things worse, compared with 38% in last December’s survey.

The number of people who thought the changes would provide good service in the future dropped from 50% in December last year to 44% this year.

With cuts on the way over half (58%) said they thought there should be limits on what is spent on the NHS, up 14% in 2006.

However, most people (67%) admitted they know little or nothing about the way the NHS is changing, although their knowledge of commissioning is increasing.

This time, one in five spontaneously mentioned the role of GPs and other healthcare professionals in commissioning, up from 13% in December 2011.

The involvement of GPs and other healthcare professionals in commissioning would improve things in the NHS said 42%, down 5% on last December’s survey.

Readers' comments (4)

  • the vast majority (99% ??) of GP's have no say or interest in commissioning service. it is not our remit or expertise and not what we have been trained to do. the public needs to be aware of this and this needs to be clear..come on BMA, LMCs and all the other bodies who look after GP's interest.

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  • Vinci Ho

    While 67% said they did not know enough about the changes , the way they could comment about whether the changes would make services better or worse IS relying on their trust on this government . The die hard fans of the Tories , for instance , would say better and Labour supporters would say worse. So , unless the public has better understanding on the ins and outs , these figures are always being challenged.
    One thing is sure, more people are losing trust and patience with this government not just in NHS.......

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  • The key to this is understanding. Surely, more needs to be done to communicate what those changes mean. People aren't interested in the detail but rather the practical issues regarding the impact on them - how they access services and whether that will be better or worse. Where there is lack of information people fill the void with rumour and hearsay and the influence of commentators takes on more weight.

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  • Gary Young

    This makes bleak reading for General Practice as GPs could well be linked (if not blamed) for cuts in service and privatisation of the NHS. Trust and reputation in the profession may become a serious issue if public are not aware of what is forcing the changes (67% admitted they know little or nothing about the way the NHS is changing).

    Remember the billboards before election: Cameron said no cuts to the NHS and no more top down reorganisation: the public will only see GPs running the show as it slips into decline. It might take all GPs on a CCG board to walk away before the public understand the profession is a conscripted messenger, not the architect.

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