With the nation applauding from their doorsteps, it is clear that belief in the care and capabilities of the NHS is now very widespread.

This is confirmed by an Ipsos MORI poll completed nationwide on 30th March in which people were asked how confident they were in the ability of the NHS to deal with those who are ill as a result of getting coronavirus: 71% said they were very or fairly confident, while only 25% were not so confident.

But as shown by earlier poll data in the Archive, this confidence in the competence and durability of the NHS has not always been present:

  • In 1988 MORI also found that although 64% rated the NHS a ‘Good’ or ‘Fairly Good’, only 35% expected it would deserve a similar rating in five years’ time.
  • This declining optimism was further evident in the fact that while 47% thought in 2000 that the NHS would get better, only 28% thought similarly in 2005.
  • And in 2001 MORI found as many as 60% thought it likely that within their lifetime healthcare would no longer be free on the NHS.

Also, in 1988 more than 70% rated nurses, GPs and hospital doctors as ‘Good’, but only 39% were willing to say the same of NHS administrators.

More recently, in 2017 negative expectations of the NHS were still prevalent. According to a BMA survey:

  • 43% were dissatisfied with the NHS and only 33% satisfied
  • 82% were worried about its future, and
  • 62% expected it to get worse.

Clearly all these negative attitudes and expectations have been overtaken by the current crisis in which the NHS has reasserted its central role in our lives, and it is to be hoped that this will continue into the future when this current battle has been won.


The Archive of Market and Social Research contains a wide range of valuable material that is free to access. These and other findings can be located by clicking on the Archive search page here: https://amsr.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/ and searching for ‘MORI Reports’ or ‘NHS’.

Post added April 06, 2020

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