03 January 2014

NHS Alliance Launches New NHS Confidence Index

New research by YouGov commissioned by NHS Alliance shows public confidence in the health service is stable, while confidence in politicians and the media to portray the NHS in a balanced light is low

The NHS has been in the eye of the media storm as never before in 2013 but new research from YouGov, commissioned by NHS Alliance, the leading voice for organisations providing care outside hospitals, reveals that public trust in the national health service remains stable.

The NHS Alliance’s new annual index, NHS Temperature Check, which launches today, seeks to gauge the public’s confidence in the NHS. According to the 2013 research (undertaken 19th-20th December 2013), of the 1886 adults polled by YouGov, 53% said that their feelings were no different than a year ago, they still trust the NHS to look after them, while 8% said they trusted the NHS more to look after them if they were ill than they did a year ago. Just one in five (20%) said they trusted the NHS less than they did a year ago.

However, their views of politicians’ and the media’s portrayal of the NHS is markedly different.  Fewer than one in 10 adults (9%) believe politicians portray the NHS in a balanced light, while only a fraction more (11%) believe the media portray the NHS in a balanced light.

NHS Alliance chairman, Dr Michael Dixon, comments: “The NHS has been battered and bruised by both the media and politicians this year. In some cases rightly – we should never shy away from confronting care that lacks kindness or efficacy – but it’s too easy to let the negatives get in the way of the extraordinary positives of our health service. I am constantly amazed at the passionate and committed care I see delivered in the hearts of our communities and hospitals and am encouraged that our first annual temperature check shows I’m not alone in those feelings.

“But the bad news will continue until we all begin to think differently. The NHS doesn’t belong to the Government or to doctors or nurses. It is a precious resource that belongs to us all – an NHS Mutual if you like – and we all need to use it a little differently.

“As patients, we need to think carefully about our expectations and challenge the ethos that everyone is entitled to everything. And to do that we must involve patients more in the management of the NHS so that together we can help sustain a healthcare system that remains free at the point of need. We need to help people understand that A & E is not the front door to the NHS – it should be used only as its name suggests, that is, in case of an accident or emergency.

“Increasingly, we all need to accept that the vast majority of health care will take place outside hospitals, at home or close to home, in places that feels safe, accessible and comfortable for patients and health professionals alike. General practice may sit at the heart of an emerging model of care but it will increasingly be a collaborative team of GPs and consultants, community nurses and pharmacists, providers of social care and also, us – the people who live and work in our communities – being prepared to take better care of ourselves, and of each other.

“The NHS can only survive as an NHS Mutual if that mutuality of good intent and purpose extends to every community and consultation. I believe the new clinically-led NHS is moving away from a target and tick box culture to one where professionals can regain their professionalism and sense of vocation, and where patients and local people will also have a leading role.

“We must all be part of its success – GPs, hospital doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and patients. We must also be critical friends but make no mistake, the new national sport of sniping at the NHS from the side line at every twist and turn now could lead to the loss of the UK’s greatest asset.

“Instead of becoming a nation that shouts ‘disgusted’ at every opportunity, perhaps we’d be better to think ‘what can I do to help make things better?’ My hope in a year’s time when we undertake our 2014 NHS Temperature Check we are looking at a service in considerably better health.” 


YouGov research

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,886 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 20th December 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


NHS Alliance

NHS Alliance is the leading independent voice for providers of health and social care outside hospital. It is the only not-for-profit membership organisation to bring together frontline clinicians and organisations of all kinds in our communities – from general practice, community pharmacy to providers of housing and emergency services.

It has the ear of Government and policy makers and is an engine for change, actively involved in shaping and driving new agendas and policies that affect patient care outside hospital. It is driving a new integrated and collaborative, community-based  model of care for an ageing population living with long term conditions, and is focused on breaking down the historic boundaries and silos that get in the way of truly progressive and innovative community-based patient care.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Dr Dixon, please call Sarah Wrixon on 07772 555030 (24 / 7) or email sarah.wrixon@salixconsulting.com