What do people really think of the NHS today?

November 27, 2013

For millions of people, it’s something they rely on to help get them back on the mend, manage long-term conditions and to try and look after those we love in emergencies. Without the NHS, life in the UK would be very different, but of late, the public health service has been under quite a lot of scrutiny from politicians, service users, taxpayers and the media.

As a mum, I know that I want the best possible care for my kids. I want to know for certain that they’re in safe hands should they get hurt and need urgent treatment. However, as the results of a recent survey prove, not everyone is quite so confident in NHS doctors’ and nurses’ ability to ensure that patients young and old are taken care of without complications.


Ill treatment

Arguably the most pressing stat from the survey revealed that 29% of people said they knew someone who had been ill-treated at the hands of NHS staff. This is a shocking statistic to say the least and, in light of scandals such as that which affected NHS trusts in Mid-Staffordshire and elsewhere, it’s not entirely surprising, but is there more to that stat than meets the eye?

It’s no secret that the NHS is under severe pressure to live within its means, but opposition to NHS cuts is pretty widespread. As an indicator of public opinion, 73% in the survey said they felt the coalition government were wrong to cut NHS funding. Cuts to funding are likely to be a leading cause of ill-treatment, which may come in many different forms.


Exactly half those surveyed said that they felt errors made by NHS staff were due to them being overworked. Conversely, 36% said that they felt doctors didn’t listen to them, which may go some way to explaining why some accidents happen in hospitals, surgeries, clinics and health centres. However, money is a big issue when it comes to operations gone wrong performed by the NHS.

Even under the thumb of austerity, faulty operations carried out by NHS doctors are still rare. However, when they do happen, they can be costly in more ways than one. Aside from causing yet more pain for patients, they can sometimes lead to expensive lawsuits. In London alone, each incident of medical negligence can cost around £470,000.

Cases like that can eat right into the NHS’s budget. As 65% of people believe that the NHS actually wastes money, it’s important that, as well as trying to resist further cuts, those in charge make sure that every single operation is carried out to the best of their doctors’ ability. Any lapse in concentration, whatever the cause, could be dire for the patient and those they love.

*image from theweek.co.uk

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