Survey of patients reveals extent of NHS struggles

London, 10th July 2024 – A survey commissioned by the Patients Association has revealed concerning challenges in accessing healthcare, highlighting the urgency for improvements in the system. The charity is calling on the government to address the crisis in healthcare and ensure patients have access to the services they need to live well.

According to the survey, which polled 1,000 nationally representative UK respondents and 210 respondents from the Patients Association newsletter, 30% of people have struggled to access GP appointments in the past six months. Additionally, only 13% reported having no issues accessing NHS services, with 24% stating that they have not been able to access the necessary services in the past six months.

The survey also revealed that 31% of respondents want full ownership and easy access to their medical information. One participant shared, “It is impossible to get access to my medical records in full.”

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, commented on the survey results, stating, “These findings demonstrate how a broken NHS is negatively impacting the relationship between patients and the services they need. It is crucial for the new government to take action and reverse the decline in the NHS. Patients deserve better and we call on the government and the NHS to work with patients to improve access to necessary care.”

Other notable findings from the survey include:

– 26% of respondents were given the opportunity to choose an alternative location for hospital care, with one participant stating, “I’m constantly having hospital appointments cancelled. I ask them to change me to other hospitals/doctors, I’m told yes but never do.”

– 41% of respondents agreed their care was well-coordinated, with one participant sharing, “You get there – eventually – but the waste in time and the back-and-forth between appointments is a waste of resources. Sort issues quickly and stop multiple appointments.”

– 45% of respondents agreed they were kept informed about their care, while 19% disagreed. One participant shared, “Long waiting list. Wrong information. Consultant’s letter contained information that was never discussed with the patient.”

Power added, “The survey’s results strongly support the Patients Association’s manifesto demands, including our call for a health-in-all government policies approach to health, which was backed by 7 out of 10 respondents. It is clear that patients are desperate for the new government to address the crisis in health and care. We urge the government to increase funding for the NHS and improve access to and experience of care.”

The survey also revealed that patients support the Patients Association’s five demands outlined in their manifesto, including:

1. Taking patient partnership from theory to practice2. Making increasing the availability of quality care a national priority3. Placing health at the heart of government4. Delivering genuine two-way communication5. Providing the workforce patients need

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About the survey:The research was conducted by Censuswide and polled 1,000 nationally representative UK respondents and 210 respondents from the Patients Association newsletter. The data was collected between 14/06/2024 – 18/06/2024. The full methodology and data can be found on the Patients Association website. Censuswide is a member of the Market Research Society and follows their code of conduct and ESOMAR principles. They are also a member of the British Polling Council.

About the Patients Association:The Patients Association is an independent charity that aims to ensure everyone has access to the healthcare they need to live well. Their mission is to work in partnership with patients to design and deliver services.