Local pharmacies most trusted health sector in the UK

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Local pharmacies most trusted health sector in the UK

High street pharmacies have been ranked the most trusted health sector in a survey of 1,000 UK adults.

Edelman’s 2022 global trust barometer for health matters, published earlier today, reveals that 78 per cent of a “nationally representative” UK sample said they trusted their local pharmacy, a proportion unchanged since the previous survey and the highest for any provider cited in this year’s poll.

Pharmacies were closely followed by hospitals at 77 per cent – a six per cent increase since the previous survey. Pharmaceutical companies (59 per cent) and health insurers (54 per cent) came last in the poll.

Asked who they most trusted to tell the truth about health matters and protect public health, 72 per cent of the UK respondents cited pharmacists. A slightly higher proportion answered ‘my doctor’ (75 per cent) or ‘health experts’ (74 per cent).

Significantly fewer respondents said they placed most trust in healthcare CEOs (42 per cent), government leaders (39 per cent) or journalists (31 per cent). 

Confidence in healthcare is in decline

The survey suggests that public confidence in healthcare systems is in decline in the wake of the CovId-19 pandemic, with a slim majority (52 per cent) of respondents in the 10 surveyed countries agreeing that the pandemic has “decreased my confidence that our healthcare system is well-equipped to handle major health crises”.

This view was held by 48 per cent of UK individuals.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of UK respondents described the quality of healthcare available to them as “less than very good,” said Edelman, with women and low-to-middle income people most likely to hold this view. This was the worst score among the 10 countries featured in the poll.

The findings suggest trust “is a strong predictor of Covid outcomes” worldwide, said Edelman, with higher levels of trust in government bodies correlating with lower infection rates and higher vaccination rates. 

People who were unvaccinated were more likely to rely on the internet and friends and family for health information, in contrast with vaccinated individuals who said their chief sources of information were doctors and ‘national health experts’.

Eleanor Read, managing director at Edelman UK’s health division, said it is “incumbent on everyone working within the UK health ecosystem” to address what she described as a worrying trust deficit.

“Trust is a clear determinant of health behaviours and outcomes. We have suspected this for years, but the pandemic has further highlighted its importance.

She said that in addition to being more vaccine hesitant, people with less trust in the health system “are much less likely (22 per cent) to take ownership of their health through routine check-ups than individuals with higher trust (42 per cent)”.

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