New polling from Ipsos and the Health Foundation shows the public wants additional investment in the NHS. Four out of 5 people (80%) support additional funding for the NHS, according to the survey.
This includes a clear majority across the political spectrum, including among people planning to vote Labour (93%), Liberal Democrat (90%), Conservative (60%) and ‘Other’ voters (66%). Overall support has remained unchanged from November 2022, despite continuing concerns about the cost of living.
When asked what they thought were the top priorities for the NHS, 40% of people said addressing the pressure or workload on staff, 39% said increasing the number of staff in the NHS and 34% said improving waiting times for routine services such as diagnostic tests or operations.
The public’s views about the future of the NHS, social care and public health are pessimistic, although slightly less so than 6 months ago. Around half of people expect the general standard of NHS (54%) and social care (52%) services to get worse over the next year, while 50% think the public’s overall health and wellbeing will get worse.
On social care, the public’s top priorities are improving pay and conditions for social care staff (42%), making it easier for health and social care services to work together (37%) and increasing the number of staff in social care (32%). The Health Foundation is concerned that while both political parties acknowledge the importance of social care, neither has a detailed plan as yet for addressing the decades-long neglect of the care sector.
On public health, people across the political spectrum agree that the government has a great deal or fair amount of responsibility for reducing harms from alcohol (67%), gambling (70%) and smoking (80%). While nearly 6 in 10 (58%) think the government has been effective at reducing smoking related harm, just 25% think the government has been effective at reducing harm from alcohol and 21% on gambling, indicating that there is appetite for more action in these areas.
Tim Gardner, Assistant Director of Policy at the Health Foundation said: "This survey shows a clear majority of people across party lines want more funding for the NHS, better support for staff and access to the health service, and for the government to take more action to address the issues that lead to preventable poor health. In short, voters want to see government doing more on health and social care.
"Yet neither of the two main parties have yet committed to the future funding increases the NHS will need. Neither has a detailed plan for ending decades of neglect of the social care sector. And neither party has a comprehensive policy agenda for preventing people falling into poor health. With the clock ticking to the next election, both the main parties risk being out of step with public opinion on health and social care."