The Future of our Healthcare
We asked the UK to rate how healthy they thought we were in the past, now and in the future.
According to the National Health Report, we are at the tipping point with our health, with many predicting that we will be healthier in the near future and reminiscing that we were healthier in the past. The research shows that we seem to believe that gradually the health of the UK is set to improve as we move forward in the future. When looking at a timeline of 50 years ago through to 20 years in the future, it appears many people now feel we are currently at the most unhealthy point as a nation along that timeline.
Historical Perceptions of Health
It appears that even though we arguably had less access to information about our health, fitness and nutrition 50 years ago, 72% of people believe we were healthy compared to only 29% who feel that we are healthy nowadays. With 75% of women believing that the UK was healthy 50 years ago compared to only 26% of women who believe the UK is healthy now, this begs the question were we actually healthier back then or are we looking at this through rose-tinted spectacles? Interestingly, this difference is not as clear from a male perspective with 66% of men believing that the UK was healthy 50 years ago compared to 32% of men who think that the UK is healthy now.
70% of people believe that the UK was healthy back in the early 1990s with 65% of those aged 16-24 agreeing with this compared to 72% of those aged 55 to 64. According to the research, between 1994 and 2004, there was a perceived decline in the UK’s health with a drop of 20% to only 50% believing that the UK was healthy 10 years ago. Again women appear to have a more negative view on the UK’s recent health with 73% of women saying that they thought the UK was healthy 20 years ago compared to only 51% stating the same for 10 years ago, a reduction of 22%.
The view of the UK’s health is currently bleak with half of people surveyed think the UK is not very healthy and about 1 in 5 (21%) think the UK is not at all healthy. Those in Northern Ireland are the most positive about our current health outlook with 14% stating they think that the UK was very healthy.
Looking forward, 35% of people said they think that the UK will be healthy in 5 years’ time. Those aged 16-24 are one of the most optimistic age groups with 45% saying they think the UK will be healthy in 5 years’ time; London is also the most optimistic region with 43% saying they think that the UK will be healthy in 5 years’ time.
Fast forward 20 years and 48% believe that the UK will be healthy with London again being the most optimistic with 55% agreeing with this. However the South West are the most negative with 62% of people still saying they think the UK will be unhealthy.
The Future of our Healthcare
Two thirds of people (66%) now believe that the public should pay more in order to support the NHS. More than a third (34%) believe this is necessary in order to continue to provide the basic healthcare expected in the UK, and a further 31% believe this should happen because we have an ageing population to support.
Almost 1 in 5 people think that not-for-profit healthcare providers could save the NHS: that’s 18% who think the public should make compulsory payments via insurance products and not-for-profit providers, and a further 13% think that these payments should be voluntary, by making a contribution to a not-for-profit provider for some services.
More than one in five people (22%) believe that individuals should pay different amounts for health services, depending on how they actively manage their health. However, the nation is divided when it comes to supporting people who are obese, excessively drink alcohol, take recreational drugs or smoke: 49% think that the NHS shouldn’t fund people who smoke; 48% think that the NHS shouldn’t fund people who are obese; 49% think that the NHS shouldn’t fund people who drink excessively; and 49% think that the NHS shouldn’t fund people who take recreational drugs.
Fortunately, most people do actively take care of their health: 47% see their GP 1-2 times per year, and 25% see their GP 3-5 times per year. More than four in ten (41%) will normally accept the advice/diagnosis of their GP, but will question them if they are unsure, 35% will research their symptoms on the internet, and 13% will ensure that their doctor checks all their symptoms in great detail. If they are not happy with the care provided, one in ten people will ask to see a different doctor.
Download the full National Health Report 2014 here.
Find out just how healthy Mr and Mrs Average are.
Find out how our health differs from region to region.
How stressed and anxious are we? Find out more here.
Find out just what health standards there are scepticisms against.
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