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BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
britainthinks.com
Public perspectives on the NHS and social care
March 2017
Nuffi...
2BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
1
Where are the public starting from?
Where are the public starting from?
Familiarity with social care is low among most members of the
public
3BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
Where are t...
Assessing what is happening in the NHS and social care is made
difficult by the fact that the public do not know who to tr...
Despite the dominance of Brexit in the news, the NHS is
increasingly becoming an issue of concern for the public
5BritainT...
Negative media stories and, to a lesser extent, personal experiences
create a sense of a system experiencing a range of pr...
These pressures are seen to come from a range of sources
Limited funding
Staff shortages
Ageing population Immigration
Whe...
A sense that the pressures are mounting creates some openness to
change
8BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
Where ar...
But affection for the NHS limits how willing people are in practice to accept
change
9BritainThinks | Private and Confiden...
10BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
2
Engaging the public with change
Engaging the public with change
Public awareness of planned changes to service
delivery is extremely low...
11BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
Eng...
When communicating planned changes, it is helpful to…
12
Engaging the public with change
BritainThinks | Private and Confi...
When communicating planned changes it is unhelpful to…
13
Engaging the public with change
BritainThinks | Private and Conf...
And always remember the context in which people think about
accessing the NHS…
• Most people think about the NHS through t...
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Public perspectives on the NHS and social care

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Anastasia Knox, Research Director at BritainThinks presented on the public perception of the health and care system at the 2017 Nuffield Trust Summit.

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Public perspectives on the NHS and social care

  1. 1. BritainThinks | Private and Confidential britainthinks.com Public perspectives on the NHS and social care March 2017 Nuffield Trust Summit 2017
  2. 2. 2BritainThinks | Private and Confidential 1 Where are the public starting from? Where are the public starting from?
  3. 3. Familiarity with social care is low among most members of the public 3BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Where are the public starting from? Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2014)
  4. 4. Assessing what is happening in the NHS and social care is made difficult by the fact that the public do not know who to trust 4BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Where are the public starting from? Politicians • Politicians are not trusted to tell the truth about what is happening in the NHS • Nor to act in the best interests of patients • This is often attributed to careerism, and the short-term nature of the election cycle The media • There is widespread awareness of negative media coverage of the NHS • And this plays a major part in shaping opinions • However, they can be hard to reconcile with good personal experiences of the NHS • And the media itself is not trusted Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016)
  5. 5. Despite the dominance of Brexit in the news, the NHS is increasingly becoming an issue of concern for the public 5BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Where are the public starting from? What are the three biggest issues facing Britain today? NHS/Healthcare +9 points since Dec 2016 Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016) / Ipsos MORI Issues Index (January 2017)
  6. 6. Negative media stories and, to a lesser extent, personal experiences create a sense of a system experiencing a range of pressures and struggling to cope 6BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Where are the public starting from? “With my wife in hospital a few months ago, she was waiting for a bed for ages. They are just sat in chairs because beds aren’t available.” (Male, Focus group) “The news is never good news. You never hear them praising the NHS.” (Male, Focus group) Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016)
  7. 7. These pressures are seen to come from a range of sources Limited funding Staff shortages Ageing population Immigration Where are the public starting from? Decline in caring ethos Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016) BritainThinks | Private and Confidential
  8. 8. A sense that the pressures are mounting creates some openness to change 8BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Where are the public starting from? ”Maybe you can say crisis, because there’s so many problems and how much can you fix? So you have to prioritise what’s important and what needs fixing first. And we’re not gonna because that money is not going to suddenly appear.” (Female, Focus Group) 53% worse Thinking about the NHS over the next 5 years, do you expect it to get better / worse / stay about the same? Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016) / BritainThinks polling (2016)
  9. 9. But affection for the NHS limits how willing people are in practice to accept change 9BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Engaging the public with change “It is one of the best health services in the world, and we should cherish it.” (Male, Focus Group) 36% of the public say that the NHS is the thing that makes them most proud to be British Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016) / Opinium Research, Pride of Britain, 2016 These sentiments: • Limit the range of reasons for change that are acceptable • And the changes that they will consider For most, the closure of a local hospital is a clear red line
  10. 10. 10BritainThinks | Private and Confidential 2 Engaging the public with change Engaging the public with change
  11. 11. Public awareness of planned changes to service delivery is extremely low... 11BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Engaging the public with change …And most are unlikely to engage until they see something that crosses a red line Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016)
  12. 12. When communicating planned changes, it is helpful to… 12 Engaging the public with change BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Frame it as an essential response to ensure the NHS survives 1 Make the argument from a position of patient experience 2 Play back the issues people have experienced in their own areas 3 Reassure that the system will still be recognisable to patients 4 Communicate that the plan has been carefully considered 5 Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016)
  13. 13. When communicating planned changes it is unhelpful to… 13 Engaging the public with change BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Frame it as a cost-saving exercise 1 Create the sense that services would be cut 2 Imply that what is needed is a ‘radical’ change or ‘revolution’ 3 Focus on the fine detail of system or treatment processes 4 Appear to take a negative view on the ageing population 5 Source: Qualitative research for the Richmond Group (2016)
  14. 14. And always remember the context in which people think about accessing the NHS… • Most people think about the NHS through the frame of an emergency • Facts about the impact of service reconfiguration are not, therefore, on their own enough to win support • Nor is having a trusted figure (e.g. a doctor) talk about the benefits of change • To win over the public, changes have to feel like they will deliver a benefit to patients 14BritainThinks | Private and Confidential Engaging the public with change

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