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The NHS is Now So Under-Pressure People Want to Pay for Treatment, Poll Reveals

A Bylines Times commissioned poll has revealed that people might finally be prepared to pay for better medical care in the UK as frustrations with the service grow

Patients are pictured above at a South London hospital waiting room. Photo: Janine Wiedel Photolibrary / Alamy Stock Photo
A poll commissioned by this newspaper has shown that Brits may finally be prepared to pay for some NHS services as frustrations grow. Patients above pictured above at a south London hospital waiting room. Photo: Janine Wiedel Photolibrary/Alamy

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Just weeks after a damning survey revealed that less than a quarter of people are still satisfied with the NHS, a new poll has found that just more than a third think people should pay for some services.

Byline Times previously reported how public satisfaction with the NHS and social care had plummeted, according to a survey by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust – with just 13% of people questioned thinking it was acceptable.

A poll by Omnisis/WeThink for Byline Times recently asked participants if the NHS should be free at the point of use or if there should be charges for some services. A striking 31% of respondents said they believe there should be charges, with 69% saying that it should remain free.

When asked if private healthcare companies should have greater involvement in the NHS, 39% agreed. Just under a third, 29%, said that private firms should maintain the same level of support, and 32% wanted them to have less to do with the health service.

Public Satisfaction with NHS and Social Care Falls to Record Low

NHS doctor David Oliver explains why the results of a damning new survey should alarm patients and healthcare professionals

Last month, NHS consultant David Oliver questioned in Byline Times whether ‘stealth NHS privatisation was happening in plain sight‘, making the case that the World Health Organisation defines it as occurring “where non-government bodies become increasingly involved in the financing or provision of health care services”.

To further his point, Oliver noted that dentistry, community pharmacy, and eye-testing had been provided by the private sector for many years, along with support services, such as catering, car parking, cleaning, security and maintenance, and records storage. NHS trusts are also saddled with debts from the private finance initiative (PFI) for building and maintenance of facilities, he wrote.

When asked if things had worsened since 2010, the Omnisis/WeThink results echoed the findings of the analysis by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust in the past year’s British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA), with 67% of participants saying that their experience of the NHS had got worse since 2010.

The earlier survey found that less than a quarter of people were “very or quite satisfied” with the NHS. Satisfaction levels peaked in 2010, in the last year of the New Labour Government, when seven out of 10 people said they were satisfied with it.

Is Stealth NHS Privatisation Happening in Plain Sight?

NHS doctor David Oliver examines the evidence of ever-increasing use of provision from private healthcare companies that bring a profit motive to the service

The top reasons for respondents’ dissatisfaction were long waits for GP or hospital appointments (71%); staff shortages (54%); and a view that the Government does not spend enough on the health service (47%).

Almost half of respondents (48%) would support the Government increasing taxes and spending more on the NHS, with that view most prevalent in people with the highest household income. While 42% felt that taxation and spending should remain the same. Some 6% wanted cuts.

The BSA results came just weeks after the annual NHS Staff Survey which mirrored public attitudes. It revealed that 30% of respondents felt burnt out by their work, and 34% found it emotionally exhausting.


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