New polling reveals shifting public attitudes towards health and care spending

Fri, 11 May 2018

Exclusive polling carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS Providers, the Royal College of Physicians, NHS Clinical Commissioners and National Voices, has shed light on the public’s attitudes towards health and care.

The polling, conducted ahead of the NHS turning 70 next month, assessed how the public think the NHS is likely to perform in the years ahead, and what the priorities for any potential additional health and care funding should be.

Whilst urgent and emergency care was the public’s top priority for future government spending (68%), mental health services (58%) and community and social care services (40%) came in second and third respectively. This marks a significant shift in public perception of priority services.

When receiving non-emergency care, over a third of people (38%) stated that ‘quality of care’ is most important to them, with ‘short waiting times’ second (21%) and ‘being listened to’ (12%) third.

The future of the NHS

When asked about the future of the NHS, the public is more optimistic in 2018 than in 2017. 21% of respondents said they expect the NHS to either get ‘better’ or 'much better', up from 15% last year, whilst the number of respondents who believe that the NHS will get ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ has fallen to 46% from 62% last year. The polling was conducted after Prime Minister Theresa May announced a long-term funding settlement for health and care.

Commenting on the polling, Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of National Voices, the coalition of health and care charities, said: 

“Seventy per cent of the NHS budget is now spent supporting people living with long term conditions. The government’s promised funding plan must create an NHS that not only satisfies public expectations, but also meets the needs of patients and carers in 2018 and beyond.”


Andrew McCracken, National Voices’ Head of Communications, 020 3176 0737,

View the full results on the NHS Providers website.