The NHS Confederation Wales published a YouGov survey of people attitudes to the changes to health services last week and both sides can take some comfort.
The survey found that:
65% of people named “lack of funding” as the biggest challenge facing the NHS in Wales, compared with 46% last year.
48% are aware that money is already very tight for the NHS and it needs to make changes to the way health services are organised to make best use of scarce financial resources.
There is growing awareness of the challenges posed by caring for an elderly population (up to 53% from 43% last year), and also an unhealthy population (up to 41% from 34%).
The Welsh public also appear to understand the need to make changes to improve standards of care. 22% named it as one of their top three reasons for why they think Health Boards in Wales are planning to change the way services are delivered. 32% of people were aware that the quality of NHS care varies from place to place and changes are needed to make all services of an equal standard, while 28% of people were aware that the standards of care provided on weekends is not as good as weekdays.
The quality of care was given as the top answer for what people would prioritise when it comes to hospital care. 59% named it as one their three main considerations, while only 14% named travelling distance.
Even though most people (59%) feel that their local hospital should be able to provide every type of health service for their local community, 79% of people said they would be prepared to travel further, for example by an extra hour, to see a specialist, while 45% said they would be prepared to travel further for higher quality care.
Opinion is fairly evenly split on whether establishing specialist centres for certain types of services is a good idea, with 33% of people saying it would make services better, compared to 19% who thought it would make services worse. 24% people said it would make no difference.
The full press release is here