The Public Image of the NHS and Its Evolution in 202021st August 2020
Our CEO Laura Tomlinson shares her thoughts on the evolution of the NHS, analysing how COVID-19 is changing the public image of our National Health Service for the better.
It is clear that the outbreak of COVID-19 has shone a light on our society at large. One could go as far to call it an ‘awakening’. Everything we thought we knew, aspects of our lives that we accepted without too much thought, have now been thrown under the microscope for our examination.
This includes the NHS, which has experienced one of the more positive outcomes in the current pandemic. While this might sound like an odd statement given our National Health Service is currently under such enormous pressure, it is the public attitude towards our national healthcare staff that has shifted dramatically for the better.
According to a survey by the Nuffield Trust and the King’s Trust, public satisfaction in the NHS dropped in 2018. Concerns over staff shortages and lack of funding resulted in the lowest levels of satisfaction since 2007. But since then, the public mood has continued to improve. Results began to rise in 2019 and now, with the current pandemic in place, the relentless commitment and resilience of those who work for the NHS has grown to the very forefront of public imagination.
The Clap for Carers Movement, taking place every Thursday at 8pm, somewhat signalled this change. Each week, we’d be greeted with yet more images of communities coming together and showing their appreciation to key workers who were continuing to go above and beyond in these challenging times.
Perhaps it’s times of great challenge that remind us of decency, of kindness, and help us recognise the hard work of those who keep us safe. As CEO of the Unsung Hero Awards, it’s always been my mission to seek out those who work tirelessly for our National Health Service. It’s why our organisation exists: to see the public embrace the NHS Family that really does capture the sense of community, support and collective effort that has grown in the wake of the virus.
It may well be that the stories and experiences of health and care staff on the front line will have the capacity to reinforce the public’s long-term support for the NHS for the foreseeable. The majority of the public believe that all NHS staff should now receive a pay rise by the end of the year, demonstrating a substantial support for health service workers receiving financial recognition.
Regardless of how this will eventually play out, there is still work to do. Staff and volunteers are doing everything they possibly can to keep us safe, and they should be recognised and rewarded for their unwavering commitment.
If you know of someone who has an inspirational story to tell who works as a non-medical/non-clinical staff member or volunteer in the NHS, please get in touch with me directly, or email email@example.com.
Written by Laura Elizabeth Tomlinson | CEO Unsung Hero Awards