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May 2024

Public calls for more support for primary care

A major new research project has found that the public wants the government to focus more on improving primary and community care than hospitals, and is willing to pay more taxes to improve NHS services.

In a new report, researchers from the Health Foundation and Ipsos UK combined nationwide polling with in-depth public workshops to explore what the public thinks about the NHS in England and the critical decisions facing the next government. The workshops – each held over two days in King’s Lynn, Leeds and London – add up to one of the most extensive exercises of its kind ever carried out with the public in England about the future of the NHS.

The research highlights the public’s appetite for a shift in how NHS resources are distributed. If the NHS budget is not increased, 60% of people polled in England think the government should prioritise the NHS budget on improving access to community-based services like general practice. Workshop participants also largely supported a greater focus on primary and community care to reduce demand on hospitals, for example through earlier diagnosis and better management of conditions.

The new findings follow recent Health Foundation analysis that projected an additional 2.6 million people are expected to have a major illness by 2040 with conditions, such as anxiety and depression, chronic pain and diabetes, that could be managed more effectively in primary care.

Practice Nurse 2024;54(3):7