The NHS in Scotland and England
Attitudes towards health and health care in Scotland and England during COVID-19
In this chapter, we compare attitudes towards health and health care in Scotland with those in
England. If Scotland is more social democratic in outlook, then we might expect to see some
important differences between the two nations in attitudes towards health and social justice, in
evaluations of NHS performance, and in views on collective action to promote and protect public health in severe epidemic situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
More people in Scotland are concerned about health and social justice
- 64% of people in Scotland say it is unfair that wealthier people can afford better health care – compared with 54% in England.
- 60% of people in Scotland say that poverty is a major cause of poor health – compared with 51% in England.
People in Scotland are more confident of getting the treatment they need – but express similar levels of confidence in the NHS overall
- 63% of people living in Scotland are confident of receiving the best treatment available if they became seriously ill – compared with 56% in England.
- 8% in England claim they did not get the medical treatment they needed during the past 12 months because they could not pay for it – compared with just 5% in Scotland.
- 37% in Scotland have ‘a great deal’ or ‘complete’ confidence in the health care system – as do 36% in England.
People in Scotland are more likely than in England to support higher taxes to improve health services – though many would not allow non-citizens to access the NHS
- 55% of people in Scotland say they would be willing to pay higher taxes to improve the level of health care for everyone in Scotland, compared with 51% in England.
- 49% of people in both Scotland and England feel that people who do not hold citizenship should not have access to publicly funded health care.
People in Scotland are more supportive of public health restrictions in a pandemic
- 66% of people living in Scotland say the government should have the right to require people to wear face masks in severe epidemics – compared with 60% in England. 46% of people in Scotland say government should have the right to shut down places of employment and close schools in severe epidemics – compared with 41% in England.
- 37% of people in Scotland say confidence in government has increased due to the Scottish government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 20% of people in England say this about the Westminster government’s handling of the pandemic.
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