Recent research has shown a deepening public concern about NHS services. With only 10% of people in Britain believing ministers are tackling the NHS’s many problems in the right way¹, healthcare management consultancy, Acumentice, surveyed 1,000 UK adults to explore the public’s opinion of the current healthcare system and how it could be improved in the future.
Published before the announcement of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Primary Care Recovery Plan, the national survey showed just below half – or 47% – of the respondents surveyed are experiencing extremely long waiting times in A&E and see this as one of the most important factors that should be tackled to improve the NHS experience, whereas 46% of respondents are more concerned about the availability of same-day appointments². It could be noted here that there is a possible link between the two – with the lack of appointments on offer leading to more people attending A&E and, in turn, driving up wait times.
The survey suggests people in the UK are looking for an updated approach to accessing NHS health services to improve service and efficiency, with a remarkable half of respondents (50%) saying that none of the recent changes already made by the NHS has benefitted them. Respondents from Wales, in particular (68%), found no benefit from recent initiatives.
When asked what they would like to see implemented by the NHS to improve experience, the biggest priority was A&E waiting times, with nearly half of the respondents (47%) looking for shorter waiting times, followed by an increase in same-day appointment availability (46%) and more flexibility when booking future appointments over the phone (44%). The North East, in particular, would like to have the ability to book more in advance than same-day appointments (68%).
Interestingly, more than one in four (27%) respondents would like to see the introduction of fines and consequences for cancelled or no-show appointments in a bid to improve the availability of bookings.
Stephen Hall, Director of Consulting Services at Acumentice and former Executive Director for Performance and Planning across Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, commented on the findings:
“This research indicates that, despite recent changes to the NHS, people in the UK believe it has not been successful and have little faith in the future. They feel that the approach to NHS care has not changed much in the past and that there is a need for more investment in digital innovation and data-driven healthcare.
“The outcome is that there is undoubtedly scope for a serious debate regarding access to data and analytics within the NHS as it undergoes a period of significant change. It’s also hugely important that digital transformation support plays an increasing role in ensuring these programmes deliver the benefits they should.”
You can find the full study here: https://acumentice.com/the-
Survey of 1,000 UK adults conducted in April 2023 by YouGov on behalf of Acumentice (data tables can be provided on request).