Labour is most trusted party on health

A Dods Research poll of more than 2,000 health workers in the UK reveals that staff most trust Labour when it comes to health policies

The Labour party is most trusted by health workers to support the NHS over the next parliament, but staff are sceptical about parties’ pledges on integrating health and social care, a poll has revealed.

A Dods Research poll of more than 2,000 workers across the UK found that 29% believe Labour’s policies would most benefit their work, compared with 18% for the Conservatives, 6% for the Liberal Democrats, 5% for the Greens and 3% for UKIP. Another 8% said ‘other’ while 30% said they did not know or would prefer not to say.

However, in Scotland the Scottish National Party led with the support of almost one third of respondents, compared with 22% for Labour.

Respondents were asked to rate four specific policies in terms of their desirability and the ease with which they could be put into practice.

Of the four, the two drawn from Labour’s manifesto – capping the profits of private firms carrying out work for the NHS and introducing a guarantee to see a GP within 48 hours – proved most popular with health staff, while the Conservative pledge – a right to see a named GP – came in fourth.

The Conservative plan to give people the right to see a named GP was also given support, with 49% in favour compared with 19% opposed, and UKIP’s plan to put GPs in emergency departments was backed by 60%.

The workability of the reforms was questioned, however. Labour’s profit cap plan was deemed the easiest to implement, but the majority of respondents said policies for a named GP, 48-hour target and placing GPs in emergency departments would be difficult or very difficult to action.

Those polled were also sceptical about parties’ pledges to further integrate health and social care. Only 16% were confident or very confident that the two areas could work better together.

Respondents from higher levels of health service management were more confident about the pledges. Front line health workers were more likely to doubt the parties’ promises than staff with a more administrative role, with 72% of them saying they were either sceptical or very sceptical about the feasibility of integration plans.

In their current manifesto the Conservatives have promised to ‘continue to integrate the health and social care systems, joining-up services between homes, clinics and hospitals’, while Labour is pledged to ‘bring together services for physical health, mental health and social care into a single system built around the individual.’

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