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Private vs NHS

According to our National Health Report, when it comes to comparing NHS care with that available in the private sector, the majority of respondents (58%) said they believed the NHS was as good as the private sector, but that still left nearly half (42%) believing the NHS offered a lower standard of care and would feel safer going privately. The percentages changed significantly between age groups: 53% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they believed the NHS offered a lower standard of care, with the figure dropping to 38% of 45 to 54-year-olds and just 16% of 75 to 84-year-olds.

However safe (or not) people feel in NHS hands, private health care still appears to be an aspiration for the majority: 65% said if they could afford to, they would pay for treatment.

Opinion was divided on how often people should be allowed to tap into free healthcare: 49% agreed that free healthcare should always be available, no matter what for, or how many times a person needed it; 51% thought it should be limited in some way.

And the majority (63%) of respondents said those who could afford to pay, should go privately to free up NHS services for the less wealthy. The percentage rose slightly for the older age groups with 68% and 66% of the 45 to 54 and 55 to 64-year old age brackets both believing wealthy people should pay. This rose to 71% of 75 to 84 believing the better off members of society should pay for care to free up the NHS for those who cannot afford private treatment.

Download the full 2015 National Health Report.

Back to National Health Report 2015.