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Editorial Friday 31 May 2013: Public concern about the NHS on upwards trend, suggests Ipsos MORI Issues Index

The latest Ipsos MORI Issues Index, just published, shows that public concern about NHS issues is on a rising trend over the past year.

This is unwelcome news, but probably unsurprising. The fieldwork finished on 19 March, by which time the A&E situation was in the public domain. It presents on slide three a very useful chart of context of the main issues dating back to 1997. The NHS is in green.

Slide 8 of the Ipsos MORI presentation presents the data without all the other lines, with some key moments highlighted. Its data show that over the past year, public concern about the NHS / hospitals / healthcare has been at its peak since David Cameron became Prime Minister in May 2010.

This is of course one set of data, and to say the least, it looks 'spikey', upwards and downwards.

And the longest winter the NHS can recall for some years is now probably over.

And the NHS is nowhere near the 72% upper threshold recorded by the Ipsos Issues Index in 2002 under Tony Blair.

And there has been a small rebound in the latest British Social Attitudes survey data on the health questions.

But smoothing the curve on the Ipsos MORI chart, the overall trend of public concern about the NHS is upwards

2015 will still be an economy general election first and foremost, and two years is a long time in politics. But the NHS will be a salient issue, and demand keeps rising, and there is no more money coming.