Friday, 3 March 2017

The NHS's biggest challenge is convincing the public it has a plan

The NHS's biggest challenge is convincing the public it has a plan People blame immigration and cuts for the NHS crisis. The health service needs to communicate what is really going on

The British public has begun to talk of an NHS in crisis. This is a perception based on headlines decrying the state of the service; reports from healthcare staff (the NHS is the UK’s biggest employer; most people have at least one person in their social circle who works in it); and occasionally participants’ own bad experiences (although most still receive a great service – a tension that can give rise to “I was lucky” syndrome). Meanwhile, according to Ipsos Mori’s January issues index, 49% of respondents said that the NHS is one of the biggest issues (pdf) facing Britain today, a nine-point jump since December 2016 and its highest level since April 2003.

Public opinion abhors a vacuum. In the absence of a clear, concerted and disciplined message, people fill the gaps with their own assumptions, experiences and prejudices. Months of dire headlines have told them the NHS is in trouble, but the public are seeing and hearing little to tell them why, how, or what can be done about it. So they draw their own conclusions. Continue reading... The Guardian

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