GPs most trusted source of health information, poll finds

People prize health information from their GP over any other source, a public poll has found.

Populus poll launch: Stephen Dorrell MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee
Populus poll launch: Stephen Dorrell MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee

The public’s view of the public health sector shows that three-quarters of people are likely to trust information from their doctor.

Private companies were the least accepted information source (16%), while 27% of people were likely to trust national media.

The poll of 4,000 people, by Populus Omnibus for Open Road, was carried out to gauge public perception of local decision-making on health, prior to the creation of Health and Wellbeing Boards. These will be based in Local Authorities and have influence over commissioning decisions.

The poll also found that the priority health areas for investment are tackling obesity (21%), alcohol abuse (26%), drug abuse (31%) and cancer prevention (35%). But sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment was a priority for just 9% of the population.

Helen Davison, senior consultant in Open Road’s healthcare practice, said the new system’s emphasis on local decision-making raised the prospect of political interference and injustice.

She said: ‘groups with low social capital and significant public health needs – for example, BME communities, single mothers, the homeless and sex workers – may fail to have their needs recognised… Our poll showed that dealing with STIs and providing contraception services were far less popular.’

The survey also showed that 50% of people said it was likely that a local councillor’s stance on health would impact on whether they won his or her vote.

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