Public perceptions of health and social care (November–December 2021) The first wave of results from our 2-year programme of UK-wide public polling delivered in partnership with Ipsos

February 2022

Public perceptions of health and social care (November–December 2021)

Key points

  • This report presents the findings from the first wave of our new programme of polling conducted between 25 November and 1 December 2021, with a total of 2,102 responses from people aged 16 and older across the UK.
  • The results show:
    • Generally, although the public think that the NHS and social care have got worse over the last 12 months, they are slightly less pessimistic about the standard of care looking at the next 12 months.
    • While support for the core principles of the NHS remains high, opinions of the service the NHS is providing nationally and locally are fairly divided. Furthermore, the public generally do not think the government has the right policies for the NHS or social care.
    • In general, the public are unlikely to pay for private healthcare; those who do pay for it, or would be likely to, overwhelmingly pay to access care or treatment more quickly.
    • Being able to get a GP appointment as quickly as possible is the most important consideration for the public when booking appointments, though they identify significant challenges around appointment booking. The type of GP appointment is also important to the public and has an impact on satisfaction.
    • Individuals are seen to have the greatest responsibility for staying healthy; however, the public still think the government has a role to play in keeping people healthy, as well as addressing health inequalities (although they are unclear as how this should be done exactly).
    • The public’s views of the government’s response to the pandemic are divided.
    • There is broad public support towards the increase in taxes for the NHS and social care.
    • There is broad awareness but limited knowledge of how health data is used.

The Health Foundation has partnered with Ipsos to deliver a 2-year programme of research into public perceptions and expectations of health and social care. Every 6 months, we will poll a representative sample of the UK public using the UK KnowledgePanel – Ipsos’ random probability online panel – building on our previous work on this topic.

Our new long read highlights key findings from the first wave of our new programme of polling conducted between 25 November and 1 December 2021, with a total of 2,102 responses from people aged 16 and older across the UK.

About the survey

The survey was conducted between 25 November and 1 December 2021 among residents of the UK aged 16 and older via the Ipsos UK KnowledgePanel. The KnowledgePanel is a random probability online panel with over 15,000 panellists who are recruited using off-line random probability unclustered address-based sampling, the gold-standard in UK survey research. A total of 3,000 respondents were selected and invited to take part in the survey. The selected sample was then reviewed on key demographics to ensure a balanced sample was selected for the survey. A total of 2,102 respondents completed the survey, delivering a response rate of 70%.

The sample was stratified by nation and education and reviewed on key demographics to ensure a balanced sample was selected for the survey. A weighting spec was applied to the data in line with the target sample profile; this included one which corrected for unequal probabilities of selection of household members (to account for two members who may have been selected from one household), and weights for region, an interlocked variable of Gender by Age, Education, Ethnicity, Index of Multiple Deprivation (quintiles), and number of adults in the household.

Please note that the fieldwork took place as the first cases of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 variant were identified (around 27 November) and prior to Boris Johnson announcing new COVID-19 restrictions in England on 8 December.

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