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The future of the NHS: the public view

Posted on 13 October 2014 by Sally McManus, NatCen Associate .
Tags: health services, NHS, party conference, health, survey

Sally McManusAt the recent party conferences I talked about the sustainability of the NHS, presenting with experts from the Health Foundation and Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians.

I focused on why it’s critical for politicians and health service planners to address population trends when planning future NHS provision, and showed trends from the past thirty years in demography, health behaviours and public opinion. 

The NHS faces enormous challenges. The population is growing, and growing fastest among the oldest old (who need NHS resources most). Population data suggest that British society will continue to age as life expectancy continues to rise.

Lively debate followed the panel talks. While there were differences between the parties about how to make the NHS fit for the future, its importance to Britain was universally lauded. This reflects trends we find in wider public opinion, which shows that people highly value their NHS, they want it to remain tax-funded and free at the point of need, and they consistently rate it as their top spending priority.

Here is my presentation from the event:

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