During the 2015 General Election the major parties made many headline grabbing promises to improve the NHS which included improved waiting times, longer opening hours and increased operating budgets. Now that the political media storm is over, we wait to see whether the promises become reality.
In Chapter 5 of The British Health Report 2015, Your Legal Friend asked 400 medical professionals and 1,300 members of the general public for their thoughts on the future of the NHS.
The results showed considerable differences between the opinions of those who use the NHS and the professionals who work within it.
Over recent months the affordability of the NHS has come into question with many people asking whether or not it will continue to be free at point of service.
66% of the public we surveyed believe the NHS will remain a free service while 26% predict it will become semi-privatised. Meanwhile, 6% say it will become fully privatised.
However, although two thirds of the public are confident the NHS will continue to be free, 16% believe standards of care will be poor due to a lack of investment.
In contrast, of all the medical professionals surveyed, 53% believe the NHS will become a semi-privatised service, while 15% raised concerns that, although it will remain free, the standards of care will drop.
A promise of a 7-day GP service was the centrepiece of the Conservative Party’s manifesto in the 2015 General Election. As a result, The British Health Report looked at whether medical professionals and the general public believe such a change would have a positive impact on access to treatment.
Reassuringly, 70% of the public said their opinion of the NHS would improve if the proposed 7-day GP service was to be delivered.
In contrast, 54% of medical professionals believe a 7-day GP service would fail to work. GPs felt most strongly about this, with many (69%) raising concerns about their existing workload and stating that further changes could see them spread too thinly.
However, 71% of surgeons, 64% of specialist doctors and 62% of consultants believe the proposed service would be effective.
The results of The British Health Report suggest that while the general public have a high level of support for the NHS, concerns are growing. Despite the public having faith that the NHS will continue to be free, many seem concerned that the current standard of care is unsustainable.
With 54% of medical professionals stating that care standards will decline over the next few years, and more than half of general practitioners raising concerns over 7-day GP services, the NHS’ future seems far from rosy.
Your Legal Friend is one of the UK’s leading personal injury and negligence firms, offering a range of legal services and advice to the victims of personal injury, including motor vehicle accidents, cycle accidents, passenger transport accidents, motorbike accidents and work related injuries; clinical negligence, and professional negligence.
Your Legal Friend is part of 2020 Legal Limited, which also trades as Camps Solicitors. 2020 Legal Limited has over 30 years’ experience working with the victims of non-fault claims and accidents, handling thousands of cases every year.