Poll Indicates that NHS is Top of Voters’ Concerns

According to a poll conducted by Ipsos MORI, the National Health Service is near the top of a list of issues that are of concern to the British public.

The poll found that immigration still comes top of the list, but the NHS is rapidly closing on this leading issue and could overtake it in the foreseeable future.

This phenomenon is perhaps largely a reflection of the prominent issue of dispute over junior doctors’ contracts.

But the public also have broader concerns over NHS funding and lengthening waiting times in both hospitals and GP surgeries.

Worry over terrorism, voters’ fourth-most pressing concern in the chart, goes up and down depending mostly on news of big terrorist outrages; the latest example being the Brussels bombings on 22nd March.

Another aspect of government policy which is further highlighting issues in the NHS is the disagreement over the European Union referendum.

The health service has been one of the major areas of debate in the ongoing Brexit debate.

And this has heightened awareness of the existing problems in the NHS, which show no signs of going away in the immediate future.

In particular, the NHS ran up a deficit in excess of £2.5 billion in the most recent financial year, and most trusts in the health service are currently in the red.

This is obviously a major concern, especially considering that David Cameron has repeatedly signalled his intention to introduce what he described as a seven-day culture to the NHS.

Meanwhile, trusts across Britain are being tasked with finding efficiency savings in excess of £20 billion, while evidence accumulates that the same departments are being pushed to breaking point by increased demand from the public.

Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that the Ipsos MORI poll places the NHS in a position of such prominence.

Undoubtedly, the health service is one of the most attractive aspects of the United Kingdom, and is often considered the most tangible benefit that tax brings to the average person.

And there are concerns that the NHS is being increasingly privatised as the government sets unrealistic standards and targets for health service organisations to meet.

In the meantime, the ongoing dispute between junior doctors and the government is indicative of the growing disquiet among NHS workers.

It has already been predicted that as many as one-third of doctors could leave the NHS due to growing dissatisfaction with working conditions, and that this brain drain will only cause more problems for the NHS in recruiting agency staff.

Clearly there are many issues for the health service and indeed government to address in the coming years, and the public seems to have a distinct lack of confidence that things are heading in the right direction.

 

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