Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Gallup compared public attitudes to healthcare among those OECD countries with a universal healthcare system and those without. They found that the average satisfaction with the availability of quality healthcare in one's own area was 79% in the 22 universal healthcare system countries, but only 66% in the 8 non-universal healthcare countries. In addition, on average, the public in the former are more likely to have confidence in their national medical or healthcare systems (73% confident vs. 60%).
The cross country analysis also finds that in most countries people are more positive about their local healthcare system than their perceptions of the national system. This has been a widely recognised feature in England for some time - and not just in healthcare. According to the Gallup analysis this "perceptions gap" is highest in Germany and the US. However, there are exceptions, for example in Finland the public are more likely to be positive about their national rather than their local system. These findings of course beg several questions, including what sort of gap is desired or should we aim for no real gap in perceptions, as is the case in countries such as France, Sweden and Ireland? And to what extent are the differences (or lack of differences) due to differing levels of service delivery, media coverage, public scepticism about how their own personal experience reflects national reality, or the effectiveness of nationwide branding strategies?
In the UK, 73% of the public have confidence in the NHS nationally - same as the average of all 22 universal healthcare countries in the OECD. In total, 18 of the 30 OECD countries have lower ratings for their national systems than in the UK. In terms of satisfaction with the availability of local care the NHS does even better - 22 OECD countries have the same or lower ratings than the 85% satisfaction in the UK.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
UKOnline - is it transforming how we deal with government or just helping us become better shoppers?
A major survey for the European Commission provides some insights into how far this has been achieved, at least from the perspective of the general public.
How Many Online?
The UK has done well in terms of public use of the Internet, with one of the highest levels of take-up across the EU. Four in five (80%) UK adults use the Internet at least every three months; only in Sweden (85%) and DenmarK (91%) are the levels statistically higher. The EU27 average is 68%.
However, online Britons are no different from the European average in terms of using the Internet for "filling out and sending forms electronically to the public administrations" (46% in UK vs. 45% in EU27). France (63%) and Denmark (61%) head up this league table and a further seven European countries beat the UK on this measure.
You can download the full report here.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Representative opinion polls, which capture the opinions of those offline and online, shows unequivocaly the strong public support for the NHS. A poll by Ipsos MORI for Unison, released this week, shows that more than three quarters of the British public (77%) believe that "the NHS is crucial to British society and we must do everything to maintain it" in comparison to thinking that "the NHS was a great project but we probably can't maintain it in its current form (22% of the public agree). Few institutions, in Brtain at least, enjoy such widespread public support. Even support for the Monarchy trails that of the NHS, as this trend data shows (around seven in ten people wish Britain to remain as a Monarchy).
Indeed, a survey conducted in 1999 found that the NHS was seen by far the most important achievement of the 20th century by the British public - more so than the establishment of the welfare state, winning the 2nd world war or even the introduction of universal suffrage. It would take a brave - or in David Cameron's words an "eccentric" British politician - to argue the NHS was a mistake and a relic of the past.
Yet despite the widespread support for the NHS now and the evident pride in its achievements over the past 60 years, almost half (47%) the public do not think it will exist in 50 year's time. Two in five people (40%) also don't expect Britain to have a Monarchy in 50 year's time... if they are right the Britain of the 21st century could be very different from the last one....
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
Two polls conducted in the first half of July, by ICM (for the Guardian/BBC Newsnight) and by Populus (for ITN News) show that two thirds of the public (67%) say they feel they understand the purpose of Britain’s mission in Afghanistan and there is a strong consensus that the main reasons for being there are ‘as part of international fight against Al Qaeda terrorists’ (80% say that this is one of the main reasons) and ‘to help the Afghan Government to fight the Taliban’ (78%).
These surveys reveal, however, that the public is split down the middle in terms of its support for British military presence in Afghanistan. The ICM survey shows that 46% of the public supports the ‘British military operation in Afghanistan’ and 47% oppose it. Interestingly, further sub-group analysis reveals that the key opponents of British military presence is over-65 year olds, with more than half (53%) opposing the war.
Perhaps one of the explanations for the public opposition is the high level of concern about military equipment. According to the Populus poll, three quarters of the public (75%) believe that ‘British service personnel in Afghanistan are inadequately supplied or equipped’ and a ComRes poll (for The Independent), conducted towards the end of the month, also found that 75% of the public agree that ‘British troops do not have the equipment they need to perform their role safely in Afghanistan’. And adding further pressure to the Government is a YouGov poll, conducted 16 - 17 July, which found that 60% of the public believe Gordon Brown is ‘deliberately trying to fight the war on the cheap’ – three times the proportion who believe the Prime Minister ‘is doing his best to provide British troops with the equipment they need’, (20%).
Finally, perhaps the most troubling results for the Government are that three in five people (58%) who believe that war in Afghanistan is unwinnable (ComRes/The Independent) and approaching half the public in both the Populus and YouGov surveys felt the objective of stabilising Afghanistan and preventing it becoming a terrorist stronghold was a worthwhile objective but not at the cost of high levels of British casualties.