Simplyhealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker: NHS can’t do everything say majority of UK adults

The majority (56%) of UK adults believe the NHS can’t do everything when it comes to covering all areas of healthcare, according to the latest quarterly findings from the Simplyhealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker.

The findings come as the NHS tries to cope with the implications of an ageing population and an increase in chronic conditions, such as diabetes. At the same time NHS England faces a potential £30bn shortfall in funding.

When asked how the NHS should prioritise the following ten health conditions, the UK public placed them in the following order, with life threatening conditions coming first.

1. Life threatening conditions (95%)
2. Dementia/Alzheimer’s care (80%)
3. Mental health (79%)
= Chronic conditions such as diabetes (79%)
4. Musculoskeletal (arthritis/joints/hips) (75%)

A significantly lower proportion of UK adults feel the following conditions should be in the NHS’s top five priorities.

5. Mobility (26%)
6. Physiotherapy (16%)
= Counselling/Talking therapies (16%)
7. Skin conditions (12%)
8. Chiropody (3%)

Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth
These results show that when people are asked to think about what the NHS should prioritise there’s a clear distinction between acute health services and the more manageable ‘everyday health’ conditions. For the NHS to prioritise in this way, we have to move away from the negative ‘privatisation of the NHS’ narrative, to having an honest conversation about what the NHS can afford to provide, as the population ages.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth

Public satisfaction with the current service provided by the NHS in the same ten areas is mixed. While 52% say they are satisfied with how the NHS deals with life threatening conditions, this drops to a fifth (20%) of people for dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and mental health services. 42% say they’re satisfied with how the NHS deals with chronic conditions, with 33% saying they’re satisfied with musculoskeletal conditions.

The Everyday Health Tracker also shows that there is some willingness to pay towards some everyday health services. When asked about the following services, the following percentages of respondents said that they would pay either ‘all of the cost’ or ‘some of the cost’.

1. Optician (69%)
2. Dentist (67%)
3. Mobility & Independent living aids (51%)
= Physio/chiropractor/osteopath (51%)
4. Chiropody (50%)
5. Home support and rehabilitation (45%)
6. Counselling/talking therapies (36%)
7. Nutrition/diet advice (28%)
8. Advice on elderly/age/mobility related support (25%)
9. GP (24%)

Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth
People are already used to paying for services such as optical and dental, but it’s interesting that self-funding other aspects of healthcare may be becoming more acceptable. This research gives the NHS some useful pointers on other areas where there is some willingness to pay. We have an ageing and obese population with complex health needs and the need for more acute care is increasing.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth

Other topics covered in the Everyday Health Tracker include smoking, drinking and eating habits, the types of health practitioner people visit and the health and wellbeing products they buy.  The full report is available to purchase from YouGov at A summary of findings is available at

Simplyhealth supports people with their everyday health through health cash plans, dental plans, mobility products and daily living aids. Its roots are in the hospital funds set up in the Victorian era to help working people save for their medical care. With no shareholders it exists solely to serving its customers and supporting charitable causes. To find out more visit