NHS in Wales – what the public thinks

As the Welsh government issues a rebuff of the Daily Mail’s new campaign to undermine Labour’s credentials on the health service, Left Foot Forward looks at what the public in Wales thinks of the health service.

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As the Welsh government issues a rebuff of the Daily Mail’s new campaign to undermine Labour’s credentials on the health service, Left Foot Forward looks at what the public in Wales thinks of the health service

According to polling undertaken by ICM for the BBC and published in June to mark 15 years of devolution in Wales, just 23 per cent of respondents felt that having a National Assembly for Wales had led to an improvement in the NHS.

This compared to 37 per cent who said that devolution had made the health service worse and 34 per cent who believed it had made no difference.

The poll also found confusion over which government was responsible for what, with 43 per cent of those polled believing the UK government had responsibility for health service policy and 48 per cent saying the Welsh government was responsible.

Despite this, however, the BBC’s specific polling on the health service, published last year and carried out again by ICM, found that 72 per cent of people in Wales were confident that the health service would provide them with a high standard of care when they needed it, compared to 27 per cent who weren’t confident.

And 74 per cent said that they were confident that if they were admitted to hospital in Wales they would experience good and timely care, with 24 per cent disagreeing.

Asked how satisfied they were overall with the treatment they had had when using the NHS, 82 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied compared to 15 per cent who said they were not.

But when asked how satisfied they were with the performance of health boards in Wales in managing health services, 46 per cent said satisfied – just 2 per cent ahead of those who were not satisfied with their performance. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) also indicated that they would not know how and where to make a complaint about health services if they needed to.

The Daily Mail campaign comes as health workers in Wales have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over pay.

Earlier this month, Unison took the decision to ballot its health worker members over the decision by the Welsh government to ignore the recommendation of a 1 per cent pay rise by the Pay Review Body. Instead, a one-off non-consolidated payment of £160 was offered to all staff. This, however, would not count towards pension entitlements or shift pay and would not occur in future years.

Having balloted staff in Wales which includes nurses, occupational therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks and healthcare assistant, the vote found 77.1 per cent agreeing to strike action, with 22.9 per cent opposed. 90.4 per cent said they would be prepared to take industrial action short of striking, with 9.6 per cent opposed to this.

UNISON regional secretary in Wales Margaret Thomas has said of the vote:

“Our members working in the Welsh NHS have sent a clear message that they are worth more than a miserly £160.

“Health workers have seen their pay drop by as much as 10% since 2010, and yet these same workers subsidise the Government every week by working thousands of hours of unpaid overtime. NHS workers in Wales have spoken loud and clear and it is time for the Welsh Government to come to the table and negotiate a fair pay deal for our members.

“UNISON’s Health Committee will consider the ballot result and their response later this week. We will be having discussions about how any potential action in Wales could be coordinated with future action taken on pay in England.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

3 Responses to “NHS in Wales – what the public thinks”

  1. David Lindsay

    As for the Daily Mail‘s campaign against the NHS in Wales, no one believes a word of that.

    As much as anything else, appearing in the Mail does not in itself affect the vote of anyone, or at least of anyone who might ever have considered voting Labour.

    That paper wanted it, and wants it, to be taken by the BBC. It hasn’t been. It won’t be.

    Labour wins on the NHS simply by existing at all, simply by being the Labour Party. Likewise, the Tories lose on the NHS simply by existing at all, simply by being the Tories.

    Them’s the rules. Always have been. Always will be.

    With the deficit up again, it is anyone’s guess what, if anything, is the corresponding strong point for the Conservative Party. Frankly, there is not one.

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    “no one believes a word of that”

    Insult the Daily Mail reader, why don’t you! (lol)

  3. The_Average_Joe_UK

    The truth is that anyone who is a blinkered died in the wool Labourite will believe everything you say. There are many swing voters AKA those who’ll make an informed decision who will interpret the info they are presented with.

    Labour are making a pigs ear of the NHS in Wales. The Welsh have worked out that Labour have been spectacularly good at keeping Wales poor. They have no answers, hate business and alienate those with money to invest or stifle the Welsh with the ideas to make it.

    Want to suck on the teat of the State – vote Labour. Want a future, run an f’ing mile from the red idiots.

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