Headlines: July 4th, 2013

A survey by Benenden Health reveals the extent of the public’s lack of confidence in the changes to the NHS brought about by the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act  which have resulted in major changes to the way in which the NHS operates.

The Benenden Health survey looked at the general public’s awareness of these changes and how they believe it will affect their day-to-day interaction with the NHS. The survey found that  only 53% are aware of the Act and 15% of that number expressed  a lack of confidence in the Government being able to reach its saving target.

Among the results almost half of those questioned believed that GPs will spend less time with their patients and that the doctor/ patient relationship will change.

Half of those surveyed believe that local competition bought about by the new Act will increase GP accountability for services. But  46% believe that the changes will mean that GPs will be able to spend less time with their patients. Over a third are concerned that the changes will worsen the postcode lottery of health care.

Commenting on the results Marc Bell, Chief Executive of Benenden Health said: “Our survey reveals that the general public has mixed feelings about the changes brought about by the Health and Social Care Act. On the one hand they are happy that funding decisions will be made by doctors as they believe they better understand their community’s needs. However, there is also concern that this will change the relationship between doctors and their patients.

He added: “More worryingly for the Government is the lack of awareness of the reforms and also the apparent lack of faith in either the need for, or ability to deliver the cost savings that are required. At Benenden Health, we are great supporters of the NHS and see a role for the mutual not-for-profit sector in working alongside the reforms to offer ways to relieve pressure and burden of cost on this national institution. Our research shows that the conversation about modernisation of the NHS needs to continue so the public better understands the changes and challenges that lie ahead.