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Seven in ten patients think NHS can’t afford seven-day services

Seven in ten patients (69%) believe the NHS cannot currently afford to deliver seven-day services.

The survey of 1,240 people in England, carried out on behalf of the BMA, also showed that 78% of respondents are worried about the future of the NHS and 53% believe the NHS is going to get worse over the next few years. And only 13% of those surveyed believe the Government is giving the NHS the money it needs.

The survey found:

  • Only 11% believe the Government has done enough to explain how it will pay for a seven-day service;
  • Only 13% believe the Government has done enough to explain to how it will staff a seven-day service.

This comes as Prime Minister David Cameron has promised everyone will have access to GP appointments 8am-8pm seven days a week by 2020, and as seven-day staffing of hospitals formed the basis of Jeremy Hunt’s argument that the junior doctor contract needed reform.

Meanwhile, patients were also worried about the Government’s policies affecting NHS staff morale.

The survey found that:

  • 77% believe the Government’s policies are leading to growing discontent across the NHS workforce;
  • 52% do not believe the NHS is going in the right direction;
  • Just 18% trust the Government with the management of the NHS;
  • 28% believe the Government genuinely cares about the NHS but 48% do not;
  • 53% believe the NHS is going to get worse over the next few years;

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said the survey showed that ‘public confidence in the Government’s management of the NHS is extremely low’.

He said: ‘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.’