Just one in ten Britons want new government to prioritise A&E targets

Just one in ten (10%) Britons believe meeting targets for A&E waiting times should be the biggest priority within the NHS for the new government following the General Election, according to a new poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of health policy specialists The Whitehouse Consultancy.

More than 2,000 Britons were asked to choose from a selection of the key priorities for NHS funding in the next parliament.

The vast majority of the public are calling for investment that will improve the long-term performance of the NHS. More than half (55%) of respondents want the government to prioritise further investment in the NHS workforce, whilst upgrades to the quality of primary and community care facilities (such as constructing/refurbishing types of out of hospital care or delivering up-to-date IT systems) was the second most popular option for prioritisation (16%).

Less than ten percent of the population (8%) want the new government to prioritise improving access to drugs and treatments.

The results come amid media speculation over waiting time targets, in the aftermath of the winter crisis in hospital care. The NHS Constitution sets out that at least 95% of patients attending A&E in England must be admitted or discharged within four hours. However, the NHS has failed to meet the four-hour standard annually since 2010/11.

The Labour Party election manifesto pledges to introduce a new one-hour target for the most urgent cases, whilst guaranteeing no more than a four-hour wait for other patients.

Helen Munro, Managing Director of The Whitehouse Consultancy, said:

“As is often the case during general elections, the state of the NHS is in the political spotlight. Attention has been focused on scrutinising whether the political parties will give the health service the money it needs – but our poll helps to understand where the public wants this money directed. The results show that nearly three-quarters of the British public want to see funding concentrated towards longer-term service improvement – from better training of NHS staff to improved premises within primary care. These are vital to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the health service – and perhaps suggest that the political arguments over A&E waiting times have been overstated.”


Poll results

Methodology Note: ComRes interviewed 2,004 GB adults online between 26th – 28th May 2017.  Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Following the General Election, which of the following areas of the NHS do you think should be a priority for the new government?

Base: All respondents

Option Percentage
Investing in the NHS workforce 55%
Upgrading the quality of primary and community care facilities 16%
Meeting targets for A&E waiting times 10%
Improving access to drugs and treatments 8%
Other 5%
Don’t know 6%


For further information or comment from Helen Munro, please contact Chris Rogers on 020 7793 2536/ 07720 054189 or Chris.Rogers@whitehousecomms.com