Headlines: April 12th, 2001

A majority of people in London want the health service to remain universal and free at the point of use. This is the finding from a poll commissioned from ICM by the King’s Fund and the Evening Standard to gauge the public’s views about health, in advance of the general election.Over half the people questioned were opposed to the NHS purchasing services from the private sector, and over four fifths rejected the idea that the NHS should shrink and be replaced with private health care.

The poll revealed a big gap between what many people want for the NHS and what they expect will happen to it. Although two-thirds of Londoners think people’s health would be improved by making NHS hospital services better, they believe that the service has not improved under Labour. They do not expect it to improve without more investment. Despite these reservations, more than half of Londoners are confident that the NHS will give them a good service. Media information, rather than personal experience, was quoted as the main influence on their views about the NHS.