Poll shows a huge gulf in public opinion about which party is best placed to handle the NHS

With the NHS seen as one of the top priorities for voters in the 2024 general election, consumer information website myTribe, commissioned a YouGov survey to understand who they think is best placed to handle public healthcare.
A rainbow and NHS sign in the window of a shop, showing support for the NHS
Written by
Chris Steele
Published on
June 18, 2024
Updated on
June 19, 2024

Key findings:

  • UK adults believe Labour would handle the NHS best, with 30 per cent putting their faith in Keir Starmer’s party.
  • However, 21% of UK adults didn't believe any of the parties were up to managing the NHS.
  • The Conservatives scored poorly, with only six per cent of UK adults saying they would handle the NHS better, on par with the Lib Dems and the Greens.
  • The poll showed that Reform UK, had twice that backing of the Conservatives when it came to managing the NHS, with 12% backing them.

Who has the public’s backing on the NHS?

When asked which party they believe will handle the NHS better, 30% of UK adults backed Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, significantly more than any other party.

Reform UK garnered the support of 12% of the UK public, a figure that is twice that of the Conservatives, Greens, and the Lib Dems, all of whom had an equal 6% public backing on the NHS.

However, 1 in 5 (21%) UK adults said they don’t think any political parties are up to the challenge of managing the NHS.

Breakdown by age group

The survey found significant differences in opinion based on respondents' age, with a notable trend being that older adults had less faithin the political partiesin relation to the NHS than their younger counterparts as can be seen in the table below.

Who do UK adults back to look after the NHS?
Which party, if any, do you think would handle the NHS better? Total (%) 18-24 year-olds (%) 25-49 year-olds (%) 50-64 years-olds (%) 65+ years-olds (%)
Conservative 6 1 3 7 11
Green 6 15 8 2 2
Labour 30 36 35 30 20
Liberal Democrat 6 7 7 5 4
Reform UK 12 7 10 12 17
Other 1 1 1 0 1
None of them 21 12 17 26 28
Don’t know 19 19 20 18 17

What does the public think are the causes for the current issues facing the NHS?

Alongside asking people about their views on the political parties, the poll also asked what state they felt the NHS was in, with a resounding 85% saying it was in a bad state (42% fairly bad / 43% very bad).

Those that said they thought it was in a bad state were then asked what they believed were the biggest causes of what they saw as a struggling NHS. The poll gave them 14 options, with respondents asked to choose their top three.

Underfunding was the most frequently chosen cause, with 56% of UK adults saying that money, or the lack of it, is the primary reason for the current woes facing the NHS. Insufficient numbers of doctors, nurses, and other medical specialists was the second most frequently selected cause, with 47% saying that’s what they think.

Here is a full list of reasons people think the NHS is struggling:

What do UK adults think are the causes for the current woes in the NHS?
Suggested cause Selection frequency
Under-funding 56%
Lack of doctors, nurses and other medical specialists 47%
Inefficiency in the NHS 40%
Longer waiting times/lists 31%
Larger population 24%
Aging population 20%
Privatisation 15%
The Covid-19 Pandemic 13%
Doctors strikes 12%
Unhealthy population 12%
Poor use of technology solutions 6%
Changing internal priorities 4%
Other 4%
Don’t know 0%

Chris Steele, Founder and Editor of myTribe said:

This poll clearly shows that the public doesn't trust the Tories in relation to healthcare, with Labour coming out well on top. What's disappointing is that so many people don't believe any party can take the NHS forward, especially older the generations.

The public's perception of underfunding as a pressing challenge is crystal clear, yet many parties seem to shy away from making the tough decisions, such as raising taxes, to tackle this issue. This hesitation raises serious doubts about the next government's ability to confront the magnitude of the issues in the NHS, a concern that the public shares, further eroding their faith in politicians' ability to handle the NHS.



Further information

Chris Steele

Founder and Editor of myTribe

07563 964412


About myTribe

myTribe is a consumer information website that helps people better understand their options when looking at “going private” for their healthcare needs. Started in2019 by Chris Steele, the website’s importance and value have grown due to the challenges facing the NHS and the increasing number of people looking for alternative options. myTribe regularly commissions independent research into the topics that matter to people to arm them with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Methodology and terms

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,317 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th - 17th June 2024.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all  UK adults (aged 18+).