One in five people have turned to private healthcare because they cannot access the treatment they urgently need on the NHS, according to research from charity Engage Britain.
The survey of 4,000 people revealed while 77% said the NHS made them proud to be British, 21% had gone private because they could not access the treatment they urgently needed.
One third (31%) struggled to know where to turn when they need health treatment and one in four said waiting for treatment had a serious detrimental effect on their mental health.
There was also understanding among respondents about the pressures on the NHS as 71% thought health and care services were underfunded and 85% of people said NHS staff were overstretched and doing their very best.
However, while six in 10 said they felt listened to and understood by nurses and doctors, 52% said getting a GP appointment when needed was a problem, and three in 10 said they had recently sought treatment but had not been able to get the help needed.
Concerns dismissed by staff
The research, commissioned by Engage Britain and conducted by Yonder this summer, also showed 27% of people felt dismissed by healthcare workers, with patients reporting instances of being told off, patronised or told their problem was not as bad as they were making out and in some extreme cases even accused of lying about their experiences.
One in five people from ethnic minorities and one in six disabled people reported experiencing discrimination from NHS staff.
Commenting on the findings, Julian McCrae, director of Engage Britain, said: “The NHS unites so many of us with a feeling of pride. But the fact is millions are also being let down every day by our health and care services.
“It’s vital that future changes address the daily challenges that so many in Britain are facing. Only answers rooted in real experiences can deliver health and care that works for us all.”