A survey was launched on 5 March to 25,417 fellows and members of the Royal College of Physicians in which they were asked their views of the Health and Social Care Bill and wider health issues. 35% (8,878) responded to the survey, which ran from 5 March to 15 March. The survey took place during the final stages of the Bill in the House of Lords and was in response to a request for an Extraordinary General Meeting called by 20 fellows of the RCP and attended by 189 fellows.
On the question of respondents’ personal view of the Bill;
- 6% (525) ‘Accept’ the Bill,
- 69% (6,092) opted to ‘Reject’ the Bill as it stood,
- 22% (1,971) ‘Neither completely accept, nor completely reject’ the Bill and
- 3% (290) declined to give an opinion.
However, fellows and members were also asked a supplementary question on how they wished the RCP to proceed;
- 46% (4,099) urged the RCP to ‘Continue to engage critically on further improving the Bill’,
- 49% (4,386) wished the RCP to ‘Seek withdrawal of the Bill’ and
- 4% (393) declined to give an opinion.
These results are interesting in that they represent the best response rate received to date for a survey conducted amongst the medical professions regarding the Health and Social Care Bill. Both online and paper based self-completion questionnaires were utilized, all moderated by an independent market research company.
Although the survey still reported a large percentage in favour of withdrawal of the Bill (49%) this is significantly less than the number recorded by the RCGP and BMJ online polls, both of which scored more than 90 per cent in favour of calling for withdrawal of the Bill.
The survey was undertaken by Electoral Reform Services (ERS) who securely and independently conducted and validated the survey which ran from 5 March to noon on 15 March. 25,417 fellows and members were surveyed by post and by e-mail (where we had an e-mail address). They were able to respond by post or by a secure internet site.
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