A system under strain: the views of NHS and social care leaders

Nuffield Trust
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This report summarises the findings of a survey on the financial health of the NHS and social care system. It is the first of a series that will regularly seek the views of a panel of 100 health and social care leaders in England on a range of issues, including the state of the NHS and social care system, and what they believe should be the priority areas for reform during the next Parliament. The findings show that around a third (34 per cent) of respondents considered that the quality of NHS care for patients had improved over the last year, with 53 per cent considering it had stayed the same. More than half (56 per cent) said that social care services had got worse. More than four in five respondents said they were concerned about the financial viability of their local NHS or social care provider(s). There was broad support for the idea that investing in social care would produce savings for acute hospitals, with 63 per cent of respondents agreeing that such a move could save hospitals money. Funding of health and social care services was the panel’s top priority for the next government, with 63 per cent of respondents favouring tax rises as the best way of achieving this. Only 35 per cent of respondents wanted to see additional charges or co-payments introduced. The survey findings raise questions about the confidence that health and social care leaders have in the long-term sustainability of the NHS, with only half of respondents (48 per cent) believing that the NHS will be able to provide a comprehensive service, largely free at the point of use, in ten years’ time. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
surveys, NHS, health care, social care, financing, resource allocation, financial management, cutbacks, public expenditure;
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