The patient survey reveals difficult challenges faced by the NHS.

New Survey Reveals Significant Challenges in Accessing Healthcare Services

London, 10th July: A recent survey commissioned by the Patients Association has shed light on the difficulties patients face in accessing healthcare services. The results of the survey reinforce the charity’s calls to address the crisis in healthcare and improve patients’ access to the necessary services for a better quality of life.

The survey, conducted by Censuswide among a sample of 1,000 UK respondents aged 16 and above, revealed that three out of ten people (30%) have struggled to access GP appointments in the past six months. One respondent shared, “I have not seen a GP face to face in nearly 2 years. So, I have given up and just suffer in silence.” Only 13% reported having no issues with accessing NHS services, while 24% disagreed with being able to access the services they needed in the past six months.

Furthermore, 31% of respondents expressed a desire for full ownership and easy access to their medical information. One participant stated, “It is impossible to get access to the medical records in full.” These findings highlight the need for improved communication and transparency in the healthcare system.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, commented on the survey results, stating, “These findings show how a broken NHS is damaging the relationship patients have with the services they need. It is critical that the new Government takes action to reverse the decline in the NHS and work towards delivering better care for patients.”

Other important findings from the survey of 1,210 respondents include:

– 26% of respondents agreed they had been given the opportunity to choose an alternative location for hospital care. One participant shared, “I’m constantly having hospital appointments cancelled. I ask them to change me to other hospitals/doctors, I’m told yes but never do.”
– 41% agreed that their care has been well-coordinated. One respondent shared, “You get there – eventually – but the waste in time and the to-ing and fro-ing from appointment to appointment is a waste of resources. Sort issues quickly and stop multiple appointments.”
– 45% agreed they had been kept informed about their care, while 19% disagreed. One respondent shared, “Long waiting list. Wrong information. Consultant’s letter contained information that was never discussed with the patient.”

Power added, “The survey’s findings strongly support the Patients Association’s manifesto demands, especially for our call for the new Government to introduce a health-in-all government policies approach to health. We also see how desperate patients are for the new Government to reverse the normalisation of the crisis in health and care.”

The Patients Association has made five demands in their manifesto, and the survey results show that respondents support these demands to varying degrees.

Demand 1: Take patient partnership from theory to practice

Nearly half (45%) of respondents believe that treating patients as equal partners in their care would improve communication and transparency.

Demand 2: Make increasing the availability of quality care a national priority

Only 47% of respondents agreed that they could access the services they needed, highlighting the need for a new ambitious strategy to provide more patients with the necessary care.

Demand 3: Place health at the heart of government

71% of respondents agreed that all government departments should prioritize public health, supporting the call for a cross-government strategy to promote patient health and well-being.

Demand 4: Deliver genuine two-way communication

Only 41% of respondents felt their care was well-coordinated. The Patients Association has called on the next Government to increase the number of care coordinators and care navigators to improve coordination and communication in healthcare.

Demand 5: Provide the workforce patients need

32% of respondents believe the Government should prioritize investing in healthcare staff, supporting the demand for full implementation of the NHS workforce plan.

For full details of the survey findings, including the number of patients paying for private care due to long waits and patients’ thoughts on improving communication and transparency, please refer to the report “Beyond the breaking point: patient survey highlights NHS challenges” on the Patients Association website.


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Notes for editors:

About the survey:

The survey was conducted by Censuswide among a sample of 1,000 nationally representative UK respondents aged 16 and above and 210 respondents from the Patients Association newsletter – Weekly News. The data was collected between 14/06/2024 – 18/06/2024. For the full methodology and data, please visit the Patients Association website.

About the Patients Association:

The Patients Association’s mission is to ensure that everyone has access to the healthcare they need to live well by promoting equal partnership with patients in designing and delivering services. The charity is independent and operates as a non-profit organization.

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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