Mental health tops public wish list for extra NHS investment
We commissioned a survey which found that people want mental healthcare to be a top priority for the NHS.  

Mental healthcare and cancer should be prioritised and given the most additional NHS funding and support over the next five years according to a public opinion survey commissioned by Barts Charity.

Nearly a third (30%) of people surveyed said that it was mental health which should be the focus of additional investment and support until 2026, followed by one in five (20%) who said it should be cancer.

This was followed by accident and emergency (7%), community health (6%), and older people’s health (5%). Just 4% felt that coronavirus should get additional funds.

In particular, young adults aged 18-24 and full-time students thought that mental health should be the priority, with more than four in ten (44% and 43% respectively) saying it should receive the most additional investment and support. Unemployed people and parents of primary aged children were also more in favour of investment in mental health (44% and 36%) than the general adult population.

Properly resourced services should be a top priority over the coming years if we’re to recover from the blow that the pandemic has dealt to the nation’s mental health.

Dr. Adrian James

President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, agreed that properly funded services were vital:

“Properly resourced services should be a top priority over the coming years if we’re to recover from the blow that the pandemic has dealt to the nation’s mental health. Government must ensure services have the funding and workforce they need to care for those needing help with a mental illness, and that investment in the mental health estate is also prioritised to support this.”

We commissioned the survey to mark the launch of our public awareness campaign. The campaign, which will run across East London until September, will depict members of the local community alongside NHS staff and celebrities on giant advertising billboards, buses, and at Tube ticket gates.

Those taking part include West Ham United captain Mark Noble, Professor Chloe Orkin who is leading ground-breaking research into HIV, and Erkan Mustafa, the actor who played Roland in the TV show Grange Hill and who now works in the Patient Transport Team at Newham Hospital.

Staff, patients and East London community members are encouraged to sign up for a specially commissioned badge to show support and solidarity for their local NHS. 

The survey found that overall the public’s perception of the NHS had dramatically improved over the past year. More than a third of people (35%) said that they now had a better opinion of the NHS than before, with a quarter (26%) saying they were now more likely to donate to a NHS charity than they were previously. Around four in ten (41%) said that their opinion of the NHS was about the same, while perhaps more surprisingly, one in five (20%) said that their opinion had deteriorated since April 2020.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2085 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th – 21st April 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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